The Old Man and the Sea
A True Story of Crossing the Atlantic by Raft
By Anthony Smith
An Atlantic Pipe Dream
Octogenarian Anthony Smith's journey was originally inspired by both the Kontiki Expedition of Thor Heyerdahl (who he knew) and the incredible story of the survivors of a 1940 boat disaster, who spent 70 days adrift in the Atlantic, eventually reaching land emaciated and close to death.
While this might sound like a voyage no-one would wish to emulate, to octogenarian Anthony Smith it sounded like an adventure, and he placed a typically straightforward advertisement in the Telegraph that read "Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only."
In his inimitable style, Smith details their voyage and the hardships they endured with a matter-of-fact air that makes his story seem all the more impressive. His advanced age allows him a wider perspective not only on the journey but on life itself, and his never-say-die attitude to the difficulty of the journey is inspirational.
'Old men ought to be explorers' said T.S. Eliot, and this book certainly gives a compelling argument in his favour. It is both a great story (a huge storm on the final night of the voyage almost wrecked them on a reef) and a call to action for the older generation - do not go quietly, says Anthony Smith, but seek out adventure as long as you are able.
Anthony Smith was a writer, explorer, journalist and former Tomorrow's World presenter, and has written numerous books about his incredible travel experiences, including BLIND WHITE FISH IN PERSIA and THROW OUT TWO HANDS, which details his flight in a hot air balloon from Zanzibar to East Africa, and across the Ngorongoro crater. His bestselling work THE BODY (later titled THE HUMAN BODY) sold over 800,000 copies worldwide and was tied into a BBC TV series which aired across the world. He died in 2014.
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- Publication date:
26 Feb 2015
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