Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Terrain Training Tuesday: Sea Survival Part 4

Ok. We’re on our way to surviving this ship wreck. We have supplies, we have that loser out the back kicking, now all we need to do is spot some land. You should watch carefully for any signs of land and there are many indicators that land is near.

A fixed cumulus cloud in a clear sky or in a sky where all other clouds are moving often hovers over or slightly downwind from an island. Depth of water is also an indicator. Deep water is dark green or dark blue, a lighter colour indicates shallow water, which may mean land is near.
In the tropics, the reflection of sunlight from shallow lagoons or shelves of coral reefs often causes a greenish tint in the sky.

In the arctic, light-coloured reflections on clouds often indicate ice fields or snow-covered land. These reflections are quite different from the dark gray ones caused by open water.

At night, or in fog, mist, or rain, you may detect land by odours and sounds. The musty odour of mangrove swamps and mud flats carry a long way. You hear the roar of surf long before you see the surf. The continued cries of seabirds coming from one direction indicate their roosting place on nearby land.

There usually are more birds near land than over the open sea. The direction from which flocks fly at dawn and to which they fly at dusk may indicate the direction of land. During the day, birds are searching for food and the direction of flight has no significance.

Mirages occur at any latitude, but they are more likely in the tropics, especially during the middle of the day. Be careful not to mistake a mirage for nearby land. A mirage disappears or its appearance and elevation change when viewed from slightly different heights.

If you want to be really cool you may be able to detect land by the pattern of the waves (refracted) as they approach land. By travelling with the waves and parallel to the slightly turbulent area marked "X" on the illustration below, you should reach land and earn the respect of all around you. How diabolical is that?!

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