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Stranded Deep

by Robert Webb 4 months ago in art

Day 9 and the water still that saved my life

Day 9

You might think that being trapped alone on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean, far away from the emails and newsfeeds and social media and grocery shopping and holidays and hangouts, that one would have so much spare time that feelings of insane boredom would creep in and one wouldn’t know what to do with all the hours of the day. This however is far from the case.

The truth is, there are not enough hours in the day to do all the tasks at hand, or, there are too many tasks at hand and not enough day. Either way the truth remains the same. To survive, one must work with all the hours of the day they are granted.

I make sure to keep the fire burning small during the daylight hours and save as much of the wood I’ve collected for the evening when the dark arrives. Currently we are ending a full moon, the reflected light at night proves a mighty ally against the omnipotent dark.

I have been a busy man the past three days and sitting here on the ninth night watching the sun dissolve beneath the horizon, I look around my camp and I noticed that through my hard work and perseverance a small glimmer of hope had been ignited.

To my left were the tools I crafted together on the sixth day. Several awkward looking stone tools, some for cutting, some for killing. The crude, sketchy axe I fashioned was still holding it together. I was surprised it had stood the test of taking down one of the small palm trees.

It was a simple design. I split the end of one of the larger sticks and wedged one of the stone shards inside the split. Then I used some of the duct tape from the emergency kit to hold it all together. I immediately made a second one with the fallen tree and set aside a bunch of wood, arranged in size, for various other projects I would need it for.

I am always trying to think of future me, It is essential that I act now to provide the correct resources for him. That is why I spent the 7th and 8th day fashioning this beautiful, rustic as fuck water still. And it fucking works. I remembered the design from a survival show I watched a few years back. The idea is pretty simple.

Dig a hole. Place a container inside the hole. Use plastic to cover the hole and a rock to weigh down the center of the plastic. As the heat builds inside the hole, with no room to escape, it transforms into water droplets against the inside of the surface of the plastic and runs down into the container at the bottom. It sounds simple, it is simple. It still took me the better of two days to get up and running.

Thank god though, I was beginning to start feeling sick from all the coconut water. I used one of the water jugs to collect the water and the tarp from my shelter as the plastic to trap the heat. On day eight I tried adding some of the palm leaves to the hole and to my delight it almost doubled the water production. Today the water still filled up to the 3L mark on the water jug. If this continues I will be able to survive almost indefinitely.

To replace the shelter roof, I used more of the palm branches and propped them up against a tree trunk. I fashioned a seat out of the sand and a spit over my campfire. Tonight I was feasting on a handful of sea snails I collected from the rock pools and heated up over the fire in one of the few conk shells that had become my cooking utensils. There wasn’t a lot, but I was not eating all that much anyway. A few pieces of coconut, a quarter of a ration maybe, washed down with some distilled water.

Over the next few days I would focus on setting up a better food system. I knew that to support myself fully here I would need the help of the ocean and that meant getting wet. I will build some traps and a better fishing spear. I will spend a little time analyzing the waters edge. Looking out for danger or traps or things that can kill me. And when I feel that I cannot wait much longer, I will get wet, and hope I do not make my situation worse in doing so.

For the time being, I can train my mind and my breathing. I remember some apnea training from a diving course a long time ago and I take a deep inhalation.

One, two, three…

Robert Webb
Robert Webb
Read next: I See You
Robert Webb

I am a freelance writer and podcast host. I enjoy discussing culture, society, life, death, drugs, philosophy, travel and self-help.

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