Stranded at Sea

When I'm especially tired after a couple of months of steady merry-making, like now, I like to play hidden object PC games. I've in fact played a ton of them over the last couple of years. I don't like those whose theme is vampires, ghosts, werewolves, Jack the Ripper, or other murder-and-mayhem, fearmongering subjects, but I also don't like the cutesy fairy tale kind that are geared for pre-teen girls. The kind that I like have to have beautiful graphics, nice music (doesn't have to be mind-melting, I do like some soundtracks that are more intense, too), and a reasonable story line. Mostly, I just like to disappear into the game's world and imagine that I'm actually there. That's what has brought me to this post...

Yesterday, I finished playing Escape the Emerald Star. Not a stellar game, mind you, but I was too fatigued for one with difficult puzzles and hard-to-discern shapes and colors. The story is simple: I'm on a liner like RMS Queen Mary I, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. One morning I wake up to find that all of the passengers and crew have mysteriously vanished. I have to somehow escape. But as I played I began thinking. What if I don't want to escape? For one thing, I can't lower a lifeboat by myself, and even if I can somehow manage it, do I want to leave the ship only to float adrift with nothing but storms, sharks, exposure, thirst, and starvation to greet me? No way! I'm staying with the damn ship! That got my survival instincts into an uproar as I began to problem-solve the situation. In my head, of course. This is imagination after all. Here's what I came up with:
  • First things first. Find the main deck and start calling out on the ship's P.A. system to find out if there's anyone else aboard. There isn't.
  • Find the radio room and start sending out an SOS. Remember, this is a ship built in the 1920s, so there's no satellite communication and no auto-navigation system. This is where I added a hitch to the scenario: I can't contact anyone and no one is going to ever find me.
Okay, so here I am all alone on a ship that was designed and built to hold over 5000 people, including the crew. Here's what I do:
  • Go to the restaurant galleys and move as much of the perishable food that I can to the freezers as quickly as possible.
  • Start bottling water.
  • Learn where the medical facilities are. I already know where the library is, silly.
  • Clear out some of the potted plants on the pool deck and use the planters to grow root vegetables: carrots, onions, potatoes, etc. As I eat fruit and other vegetables, I'll use some of those seeds and preserve the rest for future crops.
  • Reclaim grey water for the plants.
I think I can live a pretty secure life in this way. The real challenge is electricity and heat. The QMI's energy was created by diesel engines, so fuel isn't endless. Besides, little me just can't manage the engine room by myself. I think I'll read up on how to make my little area solar and wind powered. By now, I've moved into the Royal Suite, of course.

In the game there are a bunch of cats and a couple of dogs on board, so I have some company, and their food is most likely all in cans anyway, so their food situation is fine. There's always storms to consider, but living in Oklahoma for 11 years has taught me to be rather philosophical about surviving scary weather: if it's my time, it's my time.

So I'm putting it to you. Am I on track here, or am I doomed to die within months? Hey, at least I have access to all those musical instruments, books, movies, and bars! What would you do if this happened to you? No radio, no rescue ships, no nothing. The purpose of this isn't to plot an escape, but to discuss how long someone could survive. And, yes. I know that eventually the ship would run aground, but not in my scenario.


  1. Micah just brought up the issue of shelf life of frozen food. He said I should use the rotting meat as bait. I told him I'd secure fishing poles to several lower deck portholes. He then suggested that if I got attacked by pirates, I throw the rotting meat into the water to attract sharks. LOL! Seriously, though, the food that did start to go bad would make excellent compost for my food garden.

  2. My friend Gerald commented in Facebook: "I'd go down and check out the wheel room, try to figure out how to turn the engines on and off, then I'd try to figure out how to lower and raise the anchor. Then alternate between drifting with the anchor down and engines off when the seas are calm, and save as much fuel as possible. Then I'd just enjoy the hell out of the place. All ships have backup generators, I'd use them to keep the refrigeration running while the engines and main power source is off."

    Good thinking! I especially like his idea about enjoying having the place all to oneself.

  3. Something fun to do aboard one of these ships! A scene from "The Legend of 1900."

  4. Pearlglen....are you hoping Jack Sparrow will leap over the bow of the boat just to keep you company? Maybe a little midnight swashbuckling? LOL! Love it!

  5. I agree with all the things Steph would do to sustain her food supply. As far as the fuel supply...I would shut down the main engines and save fuel to keep the power generators running. Find the breaker boxes and shut down power to the deck...s not in use. Locate as many flashlights and batteries as you can before you shut the power down. I would also find something with which to post SOS on the deck so any planes flying over will see it. Find a fire safe container of some kind and ready a smoke signal. Find out where the water purification station is and hopefully somewhere on ship there is a manual on how to use it and repair it. Store as much fresh water as you can. Start a compost pile using your food scraps and your own urine, throw all those potted plants you uprooted in there as well. You will need nutrient soil to keep growing your food. Most ships have a sealed exterior door on the kitchen level. Locate this door and also search the ship for any fishing equipment or materials that could be used as such. Fresh fish!See More

  6. @Bobbie: Great idea shutting off power to the decks not in use. If I have to go there, I can do it in the daytime. I figure getting food from the galleys would be like going shopping every week: humans tend to create routines for themselves. I'd find a wagon or something (there has to be a daycare somewhere on board) to cart my supplies from the galleys, dispensary, and other places back to my suite.

    I can use urine in my compost bin? Didn't know that!

    I figure if you and I got stranded together we could survive a good, long time. And think about the fun we'd have in the bars! LOL.


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