Perhaps the most fortuitous and useful item Callahan salvaged before the ship went down was a book called Sea Survival by Dougal Robertson. In 1972, Robertson had survived 38 days lost at sea with his family and lived to write about it. This book held tips, diagrams, and information Callahan would find invaluable. Callahan also managed to salvage a sleeping bag, a small spear gun, two solar stills for producing drinking water, and a couple tupperware boxes containing a navigation chart, a fork and knife, a sewing kit, a few cans of soup, some flares, and a flashlight. Would this be enough?
If he could have foreseen the ordeal he was about to face, he wouldn’t have given himself even the slimmest chance of survival.
Callahan spent entire days perched at the edge of the raft, holding the speargun steady, just waiting for a chance. Finally, a fish came close enough, and he was able to spear it.
But cleaning the fish and eating it, those were different stories. The fish was massive, and he was weakened from days without food. Furthermore, the guts and blood were attracting some unwanted guests… sharks!
The sharks became a constant threat, circling day and night, scraping the bottom of the raft with their sandpaper skin, and drawing quickly close whenever he put his arms in the water to fish, wash, or make necessary repairs to the raft. He tried to stab them with his spear gun, but to no avail. They just kept coming back. Unfortunately, as the days, weeks, and ultimately months passed, sharks became the least of his problems. He was about to be tested in unimaginable ways.