What a Shipwreck Taught Me about Retirement: Part I

In 1864 the British schooner Grafton wrecked off the coast of the Auckland Islands. The crew’s story, as told by Joan Druett (Island of the Lost, 2019) became a primer for how to survive a shipwreck.

And reading it during the quarantine of 2020, I found a guide to surviving retirement in a pandemic. I’ll share one of their strategies in each of the next five blogs.


The weather in the Aucklands is among the harshest in the world. With frequent freezing rain and near hurricane force winds, how was one to survive?

The answer for the five men of the Grafton was innovation. They built a wooden hut with thatched roof and a fireplace to stay warm, a boat to get off the island and, since they didn’t have tools to make the boat, they made the tools.

How? They made a forge.

So the crew’s innovation was on my mind going in to March and April of 2020. Whether for financial gain or personal fulfillment what could I build at home? What tools did I have with which to work? Would I need to discover new ones?

*To be continued.

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