Desperate Voyage

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In May 1946, John Caldwell, stranded in Panama after the war, set out single-handed on a 9,000 mile journey aboard the 29-foot Pagan to rejoin his wife in Sydney.

Ever eaten a pot of Vaseline? And how about washing it down with a glass and a half of hair lacquer? When John Caldwell ran out of food during a single-handed crossing of the Pacific Ocean, he was reduced to eating anything even vaguely organic aboard his boat, merely to survive. This, the account of his journey, could rank alongside the best thrillers for sheer irrepressibility of its hero.

The book is utterly compelling, a testament to man’s determination to survive when most of us would have given up. It is also an illustration of how different the world was not so long ago. You’ll find it hard to put this one down.

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