Join Date: Sep 2011
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Survival At Sea
Always looking for a good book, I just picked up a copy of Survive The Savage Sea by Dougal Robertson. I've only just started it but it isn't long before the six people in the sailboat find themselves in their life raft. Callahan suspected a whale hit as the cause of his boat sinking. Robertson and crew know it was a whale, whales, in fact, as they saw a pack of killer whales and even noticed a "V" in the head of one. Robertson suspected it was from hitting the keel. He also thought the pack made the injured whale their lunch and that's why they didn't come back to feed on the crew.
Once in the life raft, sure enough, the sea life start thumping on the bottom of the raft. The author talks about dorado feeding on the fish around the raft and turtles chewing on the bottom. I doubt the turtles were feeding on the rubber or vinyl bottom.
Otherworldly explanations aside, the only logical explanation for all the attention the sea life gives to the bottom of the raft is because small fish are seeking shelter under the raft and barnacles or some other life attaching itself to the bottom of the raft. And the larger fish, and even turtles, come in to feed.
If this is a known fact, I would think life rafts would be constructed to withstand this assault. Maybe they already are. Also, that survival information and equipment should include how to best deal with this and use it to the survivor's advantage. Maybe that's already planned into the package too. I don't know.
Most of the life rafts I see today have ballasts that protrude from the bottom. That would add more surface area to the bottom and also provide additional places for small fish to hide. That makes it an even better mini reef. So in a way, these life rafts create an environment that attracts sea life and gives the survivors a food source other than the canned stores they have on hand.
Of course, in a place as barren as the middle of the ocean, once you start attracting small creatures, progressively larger and larger creatures will come in to feed. So maybe including a shark repellent in the survival package isn't a bad idea.