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Showing posts from January, 2014

On oars of courage

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On oars of courageIn 1982 Steven Callahan was crossing the Atlantic
alone in his sailboat when it struck something and
sank. He was out of the shipping lanes and floating in
a life raft, alone. His supplies were few. His fishermen
found him seventy-six days later (the longest anyone
has survived a shipwreck on a life raft alone), he was
alive -- much skinnier than he was when he started,
but alive.

His account of how he survived is fascinating. His ingenuity -- how he managed to catch fish, how he
fixed his solar still (evaporates sea water to make
fresh) -- is very interesting.
But the thing that caught my eye was how he
managed to keep himself going when all hope
seemed lost, when there seemed no point in
continuing the struggle, when he was suffering
greatly, when his life raft was punctured and after
more than a week struggling with his weak body to fix
it, it was still leaking air and wearing him out to keep
pumping it up. He was starved. He was desperately
dehydrated. He was thoroughly exhau…