British Canoeist is a Picture of Persistence

By Bill McCartney

A British man crossed the Pacific alone. And, he lived to tell about it.

Jim Shekdar recently became the first person ever to row across the Pacific Ocean unassisted. His voyage began in Peru on
June 29, 2000. He rowed alone in a small boat called «Le Shark», traveling about ten miles a day and covering more than 8,000 miles
total. On March 30, 2001 – 274 days after he started- he arrived safely on the other side of the Pacific, near Brisbane, Australia.
Not long after he set out, Shekdar realized that he’d forgotten his tool for opening tins of food. Later on in the journey, he
ran out of cooking gas. By the time he reached Australia, his provisions had run dangerously low, and he’d lost more than eighty

Shekdar’s weight loss hadn’t deterred the sharks, however. On ten different occasions during the voyage, the oceanic predators had literally rammed his vessel.
But, even the sharks didn’t present as dangerous a threat as the Pacific Ocean «traffic.» He woke up one morning to the sound of a large engine. An enormous tanker ship was approaching his boat
head-on. It’s captain couldn’t see Shekdar’s tiny vessel and the tanker passed within 30 feet, almost sinking Shekdar in its wake.

On the final day of the voyage, his boat capsized in the pounding surf. He was forced to swim the final 100 feet to shore. He fell exhausted into the arms of his wife, Jane, who was waiting for
him along with a group of cheering spectators.

You or I may not know what it’s like to be alone and adrift in the middle of the ocean. But we each face those times in our lives
when the sharks are circling and our last reserves of strength begin to fade. Maybe you’ve lost your job. Maybe a dear friend
has died. Or, perhaps your marriage is in trouble.

Like Mr. Shekdar, we can either call it quits, or we can grit our teeth and press forward. Real perseverance can carry us far.
Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, pray for strength, and refuse to give up.

I’m Coach Bill McCartney.