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castaway

Postby zetreque on June 30th, 2018, 11:48 pm 

We often see in movies and TV someone being washed ashore after a plane crash, ship wreck, whatever. I'm wondering how that works. Does that even work or is that even possible? What conditions must happen in order for that to be real? Would the person for instance need to have some debre to float on until they reach shore? Somehow I don't see someone just floating unconscious in the water until some day when they are washed on shore.
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Re: castaway

Postby bangstrom on July 1st, 2018, 3:53 am 

Their bodies become bloated and rise to the top. This can happen quickly in warm water. Men usually float face down and women float face up.
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Re: castaway

Postby zetreque on July 1st, 2018, 11:31 am 

bangstrom » Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:53 am wrote:Their bodies become bloated and rise to the top. This can happen quickly in warm water. Men usually float face down and women float face up.

floating face down you would die. In the movies they are alive.
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Re: castaway

Postby edy420 on July 2nd, 2018, 5:37 am 

My uncle was stuck out at sea for three days straight, no debri.
He was eventually rescued, but I’m sure he would have been happy to find an island
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Re: castaway

Postby Sandpiper on October 2nd, 2018, 7:43 am 

Very unlikely, I'd say, especially if the person were unconscious. You'd need a combination of factors, including closeness to a shore, warmer waters, and a sandy (vs rocky) beach?

Unless the movie suggests that the person struggled long and hard to make it to shore - and simply fell to sleep in exhaustion upon barely getting there? And could hardly remember how they were able to?

Here's a video story told by a toughened Canadian sailor who was in the cold sea just part of one night with the waves crashing down upon him. He didn't think he could make it. It ends with a great folk song (if you like folk music and by Stan Rogers), but the way he tells this story gives you an idea of how hard the conditions would be for even a short period.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT-aEcPgkuA
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Re: castaway

Postby zetreque on October 2nd, 2018, 10:43 am 

nice story. He got lucky finding that life boat
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Re: castaway

Postby Serpent on October 2nd, 2018, 11:33 am 

Lots of people have survived shipwrecks - most often in lifeboats, where there would be up to two dozen people, which means the stronger can help the weaker ones. A single survivor is rare but not unheard-of. He (usually, since all except passenger ships had an all-male contingent) would be on a large piece of wooden flotsam - crates, barrels, railings, spars and masts. There is a better chance of survival if the crewman tied himself to the mast or helm before the ship broke up - to keep from being swept overboard in the storm. Then, even if he lost consciousness, he would still float. The tide might then wash him - along with all the other flotsam - onto a shore. As the tide retreats, whatever had been floating is deposited. In the days of sail and even steam, many - I'd like to say most, but I'm not sure - shipwrecks took place on rocks near the shore. Many seaside villages made a living off salvage - and incidentally rescued a few sailors. More than one young fellow impressed into the merchant navy found safe haven among the natives.
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Re: castaway

Postby -1- on January 17th, 2019, 9:03 pm 

The unconscious ones who are washed ashore are actually in a deep, hypnotic state. I figure -- in lack of a better explanation offered anywhere in the literature -- that the Admiralty specially trained the sailors to do this in case of a shipwreck on a boisterous sea. In this deep hypnotic stage the patient is suggested to

- not spend too much energy
- not drown.

That is achieved by a hybernation-like existence, in which the body temperature drops and biological metaboisms slow down. Then it is possible for the guy to float a-sea for days, without a care in the world.

-------------

The hero and fate of Robinson Crusoe predominantly tickled the fancy of Hungarian humorists active between the two world wars. One wrote, something to the effect, that "...he survived for decades alone on a desert island, without any help from anyone and without the conveniences of society, except for having been lavishly equipped with a complete set of tools and gears, and with a servant who took him for a god."

------------

I much preferred the version that showed the complete breakdown of social and empathetic ethics in the dynamic of devolution of society's values in the freedom provided by the Geiges' ring of absolutely no authorial influence so brilliantly depicted in "The Lord of the Flies" by W. Golding.

-----------

The least favourite depiction was Jules Verne's laughable and childish idealism in the book he wrote of a bunch of boys also wrecking ship on a desert island.

(I know I am babbling... I am extremely depressed and this is the only way I can find relief.)
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Re: castaway

Postby -1- on January 17th, 2019, 9:18 pm 

There is actually an experiential (by my own experience) explanation, but it covers only a dozen or so minutes, not days face down in the water.

My cousin once drowned. He was at the bottom of the lake for about five-ten minutes, when someone spotted him in the crowd in the water or on the shore. He was pulled out, his vital signs were gone. His uncle, my cousin, gave him CPR, and the guy coughed up some water, and lived for at least another 20 years after he was out of the deep water.

I went on a trip with the entire school, to hike in the mountains. We were on a clearing, eating lunch, when two boys started to play-wrestle. They were rolling on the grass. I screamed, "Little pile into a big one", and threw myself on top of them. About ten to twenty boys also threw themselves on the pile. (This was a well-known folklore game back then... not long after WWII ended, in poverty-stricken Eastern Europe, there were not many toys to play with.) I clearly remember how I became quickly the bottom boy in the pile, and I remember not being able to breathe in... then everything going blank in a blackness.

Next I remember I was face up on the grass, with nobody on top, boys just a little distance away, not being concerened about me.

!!!

I learned then that it's a survival tactic in mammals. Lose consciousness, and go into a deep metabolically lowered state, when the brain is deprived of oxygen. Then come back to life again, just to try and see if the conditions improved at all. If conditions improved, brain restarts functioning. If conditions didn't improve, it goes out of commission for good.
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Re: castaway

Postby -1- on January 17th, 2019, 9:30 pm 

Serpent » October 2nd, 2018, 11:33 am wrote:Many seaside villages made a living off salvage - and incidentally rescued a few sailors. More than one young fellow impressed into the merchant navy found safe haven among the natives.

Robert Merle, a French writer wrote a beautiful novel about precisely that. Mutiny, etc, very romantic, merchant marines, in the English navy, facing whatever, read the book, it's fantastically well written, mainly due to the authentic feel of personality dynamics of realistically and consistently behaving characters.

The novel, very aptly and in unsurpassable approximation to the topic, was titled "The Island".
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Re: castaway

Postby bangstrom on January 18th, 2019, 2:30 am 

Several years ago a badly overcrowded ferry boat with about three thousand passengers returning from a Ramadan pilgrimage sank among the Indonesian islands. There were three foreigners aboard- one American girl and a couple from Germany. Nearly all of the local passengers quickly drowned. The three foreigners and one Indonesian boy survived by treading water until they washed up on two different islands.

I would think tropical islanders like the Indonesians would be strong swimmers so why did so many drown? Is there some religious prohibition against swimming?

I once tried looking up information about the ferry disaster and right away I started to get spam from cruise ship lines and a week later I began getting phone calls and mail with more of the same.
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Re: castaway

Postby -1- on January 18th, 2019, 6:58 am 

bangstrom » January 18th, 2019, 2:30 am wrote:Several years ago a badly overcrowded ferry boat with about three thousand passengers returning from a Ramadan pilgrimage sank among the Indonesian islands. There were three foreigners aboard- one American girl and a couple from Germany. Nearly all of the local passengers quickly drowned. The three foreigners and one Indonesian boy survived by treading water until they washed up on two different islands.

I would think tropical islanders like the Indonesians would be strong swimmers so why did so many drown? Is there some religious prohibition against swimming?

I once tried looking up information about the ferry disaster and right away I started to get spam from cruise ship lines and a week later I began getting phone calls and mail with more of the same.


This is precisely why I gave up my academic research on self-flagellation, sadomasochism, and controlled starvation and dehydration: within weeks of my research, I was bombarded by ads promoting Helga Schlagmuller's Cavern of Painful Pleasures, by the Brutal Boys', Bruce and Brutus Savage's, Belt and Buckle Beatings, and by Sally's Sour Salt-mine health retreats.
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Re: castaway

Postby toucana on January 18th, 2019, 7:13 am 

You may find this article from Slate News written by Nina Shen Rastogi in January 2009 of interest.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2009/01/why-don-t-indonesians-know-how-to-swim-and-why-are-their-ferries-always-sinking.html

This was probably the accident you were thinking of, although there is a rather long and unhappy history of similar catastrophes affecting haj pilgrims in Indonesia.

The explanation reported at the time by AP among others is that Indonesians generally don’t learn how to swim.
Because its primary ethnic group never took to the seas. Though there are thousands of distinct cultural groups in Indonesia, the dominant one—both politically and demographically—is the Javanese. Though the island of Java was, historically, an important stop on trading routes from Europe and India, the Javanese themselves weren’t sailors. Agriculture—primarily rice farming—was far more important, leading to a culture that placed emphasis on the land rather than the sea. The ocean was traditionally seen as a dangerous, foreign place, which meant that swimming never really developed as a recreational practice.

Same goes for the Balinese, who make up the majority of the country’s Hindu population. Indian civilizations historically sprang up along hills and mountains and didn’t place much emphasis on the sea. The Balinese, in turn, consider the sea to be a hazardous place; their most holy location, the mountain Gunung Arung, is located in the interior.

One interesting exception to this general aversion to the sea is found among the Bugis people of Sulawesi who are accomplished sailors. The word boogeyman is said to derive from their name, due to their reputation as fierce pirates.

The odd thing though is that it isn’t just in archipelago nations like Indonesia that seamen often don’t know how to swim. When I was researching my own Scottish Gaelic ancestry, I read to my astonishment in Gaelic folklore collections such as Superstitions of The Highlands & Islands of Scotland by John Gregoroson Cambell (1900) that most Gaelic fisherman who went to sea every day of their working lives were unable to swim. I later discovered that the same was true for many English merchant seamen during the Victorian era in the days of sailing ships.
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Re: castaway

Postby Serpent on January 18th, 2019, 2:50 pm 

The merchant seamen, I can understand. They were mainly city boys or farm-boys who signed up for a job to get away from home. Their training was sketchy, at best.
The fishermen are much more perplexing. You'd expect children who grow up on a sea-coast to get at least a dog-paddle from normal romping on the beach. Unless Scottish children were not allowed free play?

BTW, it seems Robinson Crusoe was based on a real castaway, except he wasn't shipwrecked....
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alexander-Selkirk
that time.
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Re: castaway

Postby toucana on January 18th, 2019, 5:11 pm 

In the case of the Scottish Gaelic fisherman, very few of them went to sea for the love of doing so. It was a matter of dire necessity. My great-grandfather was a crofter who made a living by combining bare subsistence farming on the coastal machair, and herring fishing in the sea lochs of the Minches which are some of the most terrifyingly dangerous waters in the whole of the British isles. Fierce currents and violent storms lurked at every moment that could be aroused by anyone foolish enough to whistle.

Inland lochs and rivers were little safer. The Gaelic imagination is populated with blood curdling tales of the each-uisge or “water horse” monster that lay in wait for any incautious traveller who forded a stream or swam the headwaters of a loch without uttering the appropriate charm.

The sheer level of superstitious terror that Gaelic fisherman had for the sea is caught in this passage by Campbell about the use of euphemisms by boatmen:
When in a boat at sea, sailing or fishing, it was forbidden to call things by the names by which they were known on land. The boat-hook shoiuld not be called croman but chliob; a knife not a sgian but a ghiar (the sharp one); the bailing dish not taoman but spudseir; a seal not ron but beisd mhaol (the bald beast); a fox not a sionnach but madadh ruath (the red dog)

This is an example of what is known by folklorists as apotropaeic magic (from the Greek απο-τρεπειν meaning ’to turn away’) intended to turn away the evil eye and avoid the malign attention of witches who might raise a storm and shipwreck you if they overheard your conversation and realised you were at sea.
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