If I had a dollar (or pound) for every time I’ve been asked if I’ve read The Life of Pi, I wouldn’t be needing to ask you to vote for me in the Amex grants scheme (hint!).
But although I had read it, it was quite a while ago and at the time I didn’t really GET it. Today I’ve been listening to it as an audiobook, and if I was ever going to get it, it would be today..
The hero, Pi, finds himself on a lifeboat on the Pacific with only a tiger called Richard Parker for company. His lifeboat is almost exactly the same size as the Brocade, so as I’ve been rowing along and listening to his life as a castaway, his life has seemed very close to mine (although fortunately the only animals I have on board are of the stuffed variety). There is mention of sea anchors and water rationing. He even encounters a garbage patch.
Not surprisingly, the book really made sense to me today. The way author Yann Martel described the ocean and the skies really struck a chord – but even closer to home were the descriptions of boredom and terror, excitement and despair, often coming almost at the same time. There is even a line in the book that says, “The Pacific is no place for rowers”!!
But my favourite passage is Chapter 56 (I think), which starts:
I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know.
Wise words, of which there are many in this intriguing book. I’m very glad to have given it a second try.
Position at 2100 17th August HST, 0700 18th August UTC: 22 38.295’N, 150 02.297’W.
It has been a very pleasant day’s rowing – a few squalls and a brisk cool breeze, but they are a welcome relief from the hot tropical sun. The Life of Pi has occupied my mind, and was the perfect length to accompany a day’s rowing. Whenever I find myself getting bored or impatient with rowing, I tell myself to “Go into the book” and refocus my attention on the story and away from the boredom. Or I promise myself I won’t look at my watch until the end of the next chapter. It’s all in the mind.
And I have crossed 150 degrees West – woohoooo!!!! Waikiki lies just this side of 158 degrees. I am now into the last 500 nautical miles. Too soon to say that the end is in sight, but it’s definitely drawing nearer.
Yesterday I switched over to Hawaii Standard Time, and got rather caught out when the sun abruptly set at 1830 and I hadn’t even started getting my dinner ready. Today I’ve succeeded in getting the hang of the new time zone. I was up at 0500 to start rowing at 0530 to make the most of daylight hours. At the time of drafting this blog it’s 1830 and I’m just sitting down to my dinner (a rather grand way of saying: I’m sitting in my cabin typing this while I wait for my freeze-dried food to rehydrate in boiled water). Then a couple more hours under a nearly full moon, and that should be a fine end to a very satisfactory day.
Please try to vote on the AMEX project if you have not yet done so. BUT please don’t vote more than once! We still need to push the total a bit higher.
It is easy to vote:
1. Go to the Members Project box on the right, click on Additional Information.
2. Half way down the right hand column is the invitation to be a guest – sign up.
3. Go to top right of the page and vote.
We appreciate your help, Rita Savage.
Purchase the Life of Pi from Amazon or from Audible.com
Follow the voyage of JUNK as they head towards Hawaii.
Click here to view Day 85 of the Atlantic Crossing 24 February 2006: Click the Links – Rita trying to keep people interested when there is no news from Roz.