Adrift: Seventy Six Days Lost At Sea, Steven Calahan


Survival is the basic element of human nature.

In everyday life we have an idea of what we need to emotionally, physically, and spiritually get through the day. In the soft environment of our cities, villages, and homes we have the luxury of taking advantage of comforts, and getting so used to life that the concept of survival becomes a legend that we hear about by the light of a campfire, a movie, or curled up on a couch with a good book.

I ask that you close your eyes and try to imagine life in a different light.

What would you do if everything you hold dear sunk to the depths of an ocean and you were left on a small raft, with just a few basic tools, and salty water that whispered death all around you? After the panic subsides, how would you use the elements around you to give yourself the basic needs so that you may live just one more day and perhaps one after that?


This is the true and chilling seafaring adventure of “Adrift” (by Steven Callahan).

Steven Callahan, a talented writer and a survivor, is the only man known to have survived alone at sea for more than a month.

After his small dingy capsized he found himself alone on an inflatable raft with only a basic emergency kit, and a few items that he had narrowly managed to rescue from his sinking boat. With nothing but these tools and the sheer will to survive, he managed to live through the horrors of the longest known solo drift ever documented.

Long after the coast guard gave up on the search and rescue mission, Steven battled on to survive the clutches of hunger, raging thirst , and the constant call of death. Battling sharks, storms, and eating almost anything he could catch from the sea.

More than his survival story, I am inspired by the way Steven’s mind psychologically evolved throughout the different stages of his ordeal. At the beginning of his trip we see a man sitting comfortably in his heated dingy eating like a king, and not thinking twice about the peril that was about to pounce upon him.

Then you see him evolve from a man without a care in the world to a man who is suddenly left alone with nothing but starvation and death all around.


As his journey progresses we see how he learns to find and even find some level of satisfaction in his most basic needs (food, fresh water, and a raft without leaks). Understanding that to survive he must map out careful plans to meet these needs, and to be sure that they are met at any cost.

The next phase is the most fascinating, as we see his mind actually divide into different segments.Each segment, representing a different part of his humanity. We see one part demanding water at the threat of mutiny, while the other part just wants to give up and die. Yet the strongest side of his mind actually acts as a captain would to an ailing crew, making rations and barking orders with the purpose of keeping his crew in check, and his vessel sailing onward-one minute at a time.

Finally we experience his rescue and readjustment back to life on dry land, and into the busy world of human beings.

To read Adrift is to be an onlooker to one of the most epic sea-faring experiences of the century. You will find yourself reading its pages cover to cover, as you laugh, cry and hyperventilating (from time to time) along with the star of the book.

Both well written and inspiring, this literary masterpiece is a must read for sailors and land lovers alike.

Survival is the basic element of human nature.

I ask you to take a step closer to the fire and read “Adrift”.

In its pages you will learn how precious and special our lives are, and never to take our daily comforts for granted. More than anything, you will have a little more insight about why we humans have an ever-present will to survive, even in the face of most certain death.

As long as a candle burns within us, there is still hope on the horizon.


Zoe Green

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