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Chapter 63
The Robertson family survived thirty-eight days at sea.
Captain Bligh of the celebrated mutinous Bounty and his fellowcastaways survived forty-seven days. Steven Callahan survivedseventy-six. Owen Chase, whose account of the sinking of thewhaling ship Essex by a whale inspired Herman Melville,survived eighty-three days at sea with two mates, interruptedby a one-week stay on an inhospitable island. The Bailey familysurvived 118 days. I have heard of a Korean merchant sailornamed Poon, I believe, who survived the Pacific for 173 days inthe 1950s.
I survived 227 days. That's how long my trial lasted, overseven months.
I kept myself busy. That was one key to my survival. On alifeboat, even on a raft, there's always something that needsdoing. An average day for me, if such a notion can be appliedto a castaway, went like this:
Sunrise to mid-morning:
wake up? prayers breakfast for Richard Parker? general inspection of raft and lifeboat, with particularattention paid to all knots and ropes? tending of solar stills (wiping, inflating, topping off withwater)? breakfast and inspection of food stores? fishing and preparing of fish if any caught (gutting,cleaning, hanging of strips of flesh on lines to cure in the sun)Mid-morning to late afternoon:
? prayers? light lunch? rest and restful activities (writing in diary, examining ofscabs and sores, upkeeping of equipment, puttering aboutlocker, observation and study of Richard Parker, picking at ofturtle bones, etc.)Late afternoon to early evening:
? prayers? fishing and preparing of fish? tending of curing strips of flesh (turning over, cutting awayof putrid parts)? dinner preparations? dinner for self and Richard ParkerSunset:
? general inspection of raft and lifeboat (knots and ropesagain)? collecting and safekeeping of distillate from? solar stills? storing of all foods and equipment? arrangements for night (making of bed, safe storage onraft of flare, in case of ship, and rain catcher, in case of rain)? prayersNight:
? fitful sl............
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