If you found yourself completely alone, drifting in the middle of the sea with no way of knowing if you would ever be found, or ever reach land safely, how long would it take before you lose your will to live? This is the big question that I asked myself all through the reading of Adrift: Seventy-six days lost at sea.
Steven Callahan, a young ship builder, finds himself adrift when his small sail boat sinks six days after departing from the Canary Islands on a solo trip. Equipped only with an inflatable dingy (less than 6 feet diameter), some tools, a few pounds of food, 8 pints of water and minimal supplies, Callahan's ordeal may be one of the longest solo survival stories. It's a story about overcoming the relentless physical, mental, emotional and spiritual trials that come in this sort of situation. How would anyone stay sane, strategize and ultimately survive such an ordeal? In Robinson Crusoe style, Callahan sets about completing the routine tasks necessary for survival. Like Crusoe, he tracks every day lost at sea, befriends the wildlife and reflects on life's greatest questions. Unlike Robinson Crusoe, Callahan's is a true story and nothing is exaggerated or imagined. It is real.
The story is told mainly through detailed log entries precisely capturing the routine tasks such as hunting, cleaning fish, raft repair, and water purification. Told too are the repeated and harrowing torments of shark attacks, the constant butting of the large, powerful fish (dorados) on the bottom of the dingy, the blistering sun, storms, waves, and the ships passing…just passing, never spotting the small dingy he floats in.
There are fascinating (and dare I say delightful) illustrations by the author throughout, which further underscore the struggle, fear and desperation of this voyage. Callahan uses these log entries and illustrations to accurately record all that is happening to him, both in body and spirit. It is clear this is a necessary task which helps to keep him grounded in the reality of the moment rather than drifting to despair. To fill his time, he documents, he draws, he muses, he experiments, he tinkers and fixes.
At turns the entries are reflective. He reflects on all the sea creatures, who, for better or for worse, accompany him day and night throughout his voyage. The fish, birds and porpoises are all his close friends, even as they torment and challenge. At one point, the author imagines that he may become food for the fish, the fish is caught and he is served up for dinner. The bones, head and tail are composted and he contributes to the life-giving soil.
Far from grim reading, this is uplifting, inspiring and even hugely entertaining drama. It's a true tale of unquenchable human drive and the will to live. From your armchair, you can experience some of the sensations of being part of a great survival tale. Reading it will make you hold your breath in anticipation, your heart will race in fear, and you will lose sleep because you won't want to put it down.
Adrift: Seventy-six days lost at sea is available at Kitchener Public Library in traditional book and e-book format.
An amazing experience for all piano enthusiasts …
Come and celebrate the Verbier Festival's 10th anniversary, which coincided with its founder's 50th birthday. Recorded in the beautiful Swiss Alps, one will witness the dedication, joy and stupendous musical interpretation achieved by playing together piano pieces for 4 hands; 2 pianos; 4 pianos and string orchestra, and 8 pianos.
Enjoy some of the best contemporary musicians: Martha Argerich, Evgeny Kissin, Emmanuel Ax, Jimmy Levine, Leif Ove Andsnes, Mikhail Pletnev, Claude Frank, Steffan Scheja and Lang Lang. The outstanding effects are a result of specially coordinated performance, tuning and musical writing.
This DVD proves that music is not only to be heard, but watched, too. Close-ups of the piano reveal the unique interaction between the masters. Interviews mark the fact that this event attracts the best-of-the-best to teach and guide students who attend the Festival Academy.
Piano Extravaganza should be enjoyed many times over and shared with music-loving friends.