I feel that together, you and I have truly and intellectually explored the subjects of serial killers and long term kidnapping. And both of those gripping topics still hold my immense interest. But perhaps genetics* is pulling me towards a new independent research project: stranded at sea stories.
Blame Vanity Fair.
In the most recent issue (the one with Cher on the cover), there is a terrific and lengthy excerpt from a book about three men stranded on a life raft in the Pacific during World War II. You should read it HERE. Then, because Vanity Fair is civilization’s greatest triumph, there are suggested related stories one can find online, which is how I ended up reading an article from May of 2000 about the 19th century whaling ship, Essex, a tragedy upon which Moby Dick was loosely based. You can read that one HERE.
(That should get you to 3pm, PST. And let’s just ignore the fact that the Vanity Fair archive site has amazing suggested articles all the time, like Leno vs. Letterman, October 1996 and Online Sexual Predators, December 2009.)
Back to floating adrift. Like any interested reader, I’ve got to wonder what I would do, how I would react. In both of the cases I mentioned above, survivors of the initial incident (one a plane crash, the other a whale attack) frantically crawled into life rafts to figure out the best course of action, only to rock back and forth, facing the elements, sharks and each other for months. Literal months.
So far, here’s what I can glean:
1. Grab as much shit from the sinking piece of crap that landed you in this mess as possible.
2. Figure out a solid way to get rainwater ASAP.
3. Use something as a hat, both as shade, and so birds land on it. The kill the birds to use as bait for fish.
4. Find ways to keep your mind and the minds of your fellow survivors sharp. Tell stories, ask trivia questions, etc. (Also, fun!)
5. Punch sharks in the nose. (Old news, sure, but apparently this is sure fire.)
6. Aim for the closest land, even if you think cannibals live there.
7. It’s always okay to eat the dead. (See Donner Party, the most interesting survival story in American history.)
What I now need are the names of interesting stranded at sea tales, and links if you have them. Never have I found such an amazing source of creepy stories I’d never heard of than from commenters to this very blog. Without you people, I’d never know about the Wichita Massacre, Dear Zachary or the Taman Shud Man. So let's get on this, people...
*My whole life, I’ve rolled my eyes at my father’s devoting an entire bookcase to obscure Sea Disaster books. My eyes roll no more.