Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez's The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor doesn't sound like the kind of tale one would read on a solo sail to the Bahamas. It was; however, a story I had first read years ago. Amazingly, it affected me more significantly this second reading. And was another relevant read during my solo.
Any good sailing yacht has a decent nautical library aboard for crew and guests. I have a few that can hold an avid salty reader's attention while adding more drama and suspense to any voyage. Maybe provide a scare or two along with some helpful insights into some worse case scenarios.
On the contrary, the story about a Columbian sailor who gets washed overboard from a naval destroyer and how he survives, has many parallels and lessons related to my situation. The story isn't really about a shipwrecked sailor; his ship never wrecks; it actually flounders and loses 8 crew members overboard. But
It is an fascinating first person account tale of an actual solo survival.
What interested me was the protagonists struggles with the sea, but also how his survival was viewed as heroic when all he accomplished was survive. He was seeking to do anything extraordinary, but to his world his story
"Each time my spirits sank, something
would happen to renew my hopes." p 53
"I tried to take care of myself every moment. I kept finding ways to survive, something to prop myself up with - insignificant though it might have been - some reason to sustain hope." p 54
This story resonated with my personal struggle not that I was lost or in survival mode at sea, but that I had to access numerous resources to keep attentive to my purpose. I had none of the physical hardships Velasco endured, but I could relate to a much lesser degree on the mental endurance and persistence that are essential for any extended solo experience. What was I especially found interesting was how his training and past experiences gave him perspective about his challenges. What surprised me the most is how his homeland responded to his "heroism".