Imagine being stranded at sea with a Bengal Tiger for 227 days? This is the storyline for the movie ‘Life of Pi’, if you have not heard of it then you must have been hiding under a rock. It has been all the rage as people begin to fathom A: what it must be like to be stranded at sea for 227 days, and B: having the company of a full-grown Bengal Tiger as your sole companion.
One of the most frequently asked questions is, how did Pi survive? Of course in the movie it became a dance of dominance for territory and authority between the two lost souls. If you had to imagine yourself in that situation what would you do?
One of the main concerns when stranded at sea is the ‘Fearsome Five’ according to Dr. Michael Jacobs – foods, fluids, fitness, Fahrenheit and fatigue. However, it is possible to survive several weeks without most things; it is water that you absolutely cannot live without. It could be just a few days before you experience hallucinations, skin irritation, headaches, and the swelling and cracking of your tongue. These reactions would escalate until you are on your deathbed.
So how, when you are surrounded by endless amounts of seawater, can you source drinkable water?
Here are some tips on how to acquire fresh water if you are ever stranded at sea:
- Do not eat if you do not have water.
- Ration what fresh water supplies you have and protect it from seawater.
- Reduce your perspiration by soaking your clothes in seawater.
– Most lifeboats come equipped with:
- 1.) A desalting kit – a briquette is dropped into a processing bag filled with seawater. Gently knead the briquette for an hour until the chemicals begin to break up the salt and fresh water begins to seep through. Several briquettes are normally supplied but each can only be used once.
- 2.) A solar still – it is an inflatable plastic sphere that has a black cloth stretched out inside of it. The seawater on the black cloth evaporates and the fresh water droplets condense on the inner wall of the plastic sphere. The fresh water droplets then run down to the bottom where a fresh-water trap awaits. It can be used indefinitely but requires the sun.
- Use a tarpaulin or some sort of bowl-shaped, water-resistant device to collect rain water.
- Collect dew with a tarpaulin or wipe the lifeboat with a cloth or sponge at dusk.
- If you catch a fish suck the aqueous fluid only from its eyes and spine. Fluid from other organs will use too much water for digestion.
- Old sea ice has little salt, so if in arctic waters look for bluish ice that splinters easily.
- Do not drink seawater, alcohol or urine.
- Do not smoke.
Note: Wild predators make it a tad more difficult to acquire fresh water.