Episode 55 of The Sailing Podcast is with Bill Butler who shared his story of being attacked by pilot whales and shipwrecked in his book 66 Days Adrift: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Open Sea
Bill and his wife spent 66 days in a life raft after their yacht was attacked by pilot whales while sailing from Panama to Hawaii.
Bill has many ‘tall but true tales’ including being caught in a typhoon off Manila bay with his wife and children, which we also hear about during the interview. Bill Butler, at 86 years old, is an amazing story teller and has some advice for sailors, after watching over 40 boats pass them while adrift in the life raft.
In this episode we hear about:
- Changes in the relationship between Cuba and the USA
- Why you might want more than 3 flares with you on a life raft
- How a desalinator saved their lives while 66 days adrift
Click on the media player below to listen
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Bill Butler’s Tall but True Tales
I heard from Bill after sending out an email to the listeners of the podcast. If you are not on our email list please subscribe using this link – www.thesailingpodcast.com/contact-us.
Bill has lived right through the collapse of relationships between Cuba and the USA, having been born in Cuba and spent his childhood living in Cuba. Bill shares some of his insights into the current changes and brings up an interesting point – how the improvement in the relationship may be detrimental to some of the other tourist destinations, such as Puerto Rico, where Bill lives.
The book with the story of Bill’s time aboard the life raft is called 66 Days Adrift: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Open Sea
and you can find it on Amazon using the link above. There is an earlier version, which appears to be mainly the log of the time aboard the life raft called Our Last Chance: Sixty-Six Deadly Days Adrift. You might find a secondhand copy of the book using this link
More recently Bill has written a memoir of his lifetime of sailing in another book called BILL BUTLER’S TALL but TRUE TALES.
Bill also takes during the interview about the experience of being caught in a typhoon off Manila Bay with his wife and children. I was surprised to hear that the family continued to enjoy sailing after such a terrifying experience. Bill mentioned there are a couple of letters written at the time by his wife and his daughter. The links to these letters are as follows:
I actually have an interesting collection of sailing survival stories and here are some of the stories I have collected about being shipwrecked or survival in a life raft:
– Survive the Savage Sea: by Dougal Robertson (also attacked by whales)
– Adrift, 76 days adrift: by Steven Callahan
– Shipwreck on Middleton Reef: by Bill Belcher
– The Spirit of Rose-Noelle, 119 days adrift, a survival story: by John Glennie and Jane Phare
Bill Butler – 66 Days Adrift
Here is some footage from just after the couple were rescued after 66 days adrift: