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Author Topic: How Did the Castaways Build Fires  (Read 55852 times)

Nancy Marilyn Gould

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How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« on: December 31, 2010, 07:12:45 PM »

I am curious to know how the castaways would have built fires?  Perhaps they had some matches or a cigarette lighter, but you'd think those would have been rapidly exhausted.  I would have expected that once they got a fire going, they would have done everything in their power to keep it going, but from what I've read, I've gotten the impression that they had multiple fire sites.  Just curious, thanks.
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Ashley Such

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2010, 07:26:31 PM »

Maybe the old-fashioned way: Sticks/Wood? That's the only one I can think of.
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Nancy Marilyn Gould

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2010, 07:34:48 PM »

But that's not easy to do, and AE and FN had no survival training. 
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Ashley Such

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2010, 07:45:59 PM »

This is true. Forgive me, since I'm no expert.
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Nancy Marilyn Gould

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2010, 08:00:12 PM »

That's OK, neither am I.  But I bet there's someone here who is!
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Ashley Such

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2010, 08:02:19 PM »

Yes, tons of wonderful experts here. :)
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2010, 08:45:12 PM »

Don't forget that there was part of an inverting eyepiece found with the castaway, that was somehow discarded in the process.  Its possible that such an eyepiece could have been used to start fires, never mind just about any kind of magnifying piece of glass in the intense sun of Niku.  Fred was also a smoker, and undoubtedly carried some form of fire starter with him, probably a lighter of some sort.

A. McKenna
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Ashley Such

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2010, 09:02:50 PM »

^I was thinking of that, too; glass.
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Nancy Marilyn Gould

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2011, 02:00:46 PM »

I didn't know about the inverting eyeglass.  I guess that would work, especially if the island is as hot as everyone says it is.  Thanks!
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2011, 02:30:12 PM »

I didn't know about the inverting eyeglass.  I guess that would work, especially if the island is as hot as everyone says it is.  Thanks!

I seem to remember someone raising doubt about the effectiveness of an inverting eyepiece being used to start fires; but it's hard to account for just that one piece of the sextant being in or near the sextant box unless it was somehow a useful survival tool.

The brass piece was only described to Gallagher, not seen by him or sent to Fiji.  It was lost or stolen by one of the natives.
LTM,

           Marty
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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2011, 10:40:03 PM »

I am curious to know how the castaways would have built fires?  Perhaps they had some matches or a cigarette lighter, but you'd think those would have been rapidly exhausted.  I would have expected that once they got a fire going, they would have done everything in their power to keep it going, but from what I've read, I've gotten the impression that they had multiple fire sites.  Just curious, thanks.

I would like to think that they kept the fire going, not just to keep away the crabs but to augment visibility (smoke is visible from a long distance) from any approaching (sea or air) rescue. They must have learned their lesson getting passed over by that July 9 Navy flier! ;D
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2011, 08:59:59 AM »

Marty said,
"I seem to remember someone raising doubt about the effectiveness of an inverting eyepiece being used to start fires; but it's hard to account for just that one piece of the sextant being in or near the sextant box unless it was somehow a useful survival tool."

We've done some experiments using the lens of an inverting eyepiece. It's basically a little magnifying glass. I can burn my hand with it on a sunny day right here in Delaware.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2011, 11:24:45 AM »

We've done some experiments using the lens of an inverting eyepiece. It's basically a little magnifying glass. I can burn my hand with it on a sunny day right here in Delaware.

OK.  That's encouraging.

Since Gallagher never saw the lens in question, it may also have been one of the other lenses in the system, too.  I don't think we can put too much weight on the identification of it as "inverting eye piece."
LTM,

           Marty
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2011, 12:13:13 PM »

Gallagher's confident identification of part of an inverting eyepiece that he supposedly never saw has always bothered me. I'm more than a bit suspicious of Gallagher's claim that it was "thrown away by finder."  If the "finder" was not Gallagher himself it must have been one of the Gilbertese. It's hard for me to imagine one of those guys throwing away something as cool as a little magnifying glass that makes everything look upside down. Pure speculation, but I have a hunch that Irish did see the piece and was covering for somebody who wanted a souvenir.  Heck, maybe he even kept it for himself.  Maybe that's why he said that the sextant was "probably painted over with black enamel."
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Mark Petersen

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Re: How Did the Castaways Build Fires
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2011, 04:06:53 PM »

From what I understand it's very difficult to make a fire in humid tropical conditions using friction techniques such as rubbing sticks together.  Even with a spark from the striking mechanism from a lighter it's difficult to light a fire in humid conditions.  So once Noonan's lighter ran out of fluid (assuming that there even was a lighter), it seems likely that the eyepiece might have been the best means to start a fire.  

Here is a related thought - It also may be another reason why a castaway would end up at the 7-site.  If a person is reliant on the eyepiece for a key element of survival (starting a fire), they would probably select a campsite with a decent clearing that is not to far away and that has the necessary exposure to the sun when the sun is to the west (and maybe also when the sun is more overhead if more intensity is needed).  So the Buka forest would be out for a castaway in this situation, but the 7-site would be good and it also has shade (the big Ren tree) and the other positive attributes that have been discussed.

« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 07:04:38 PM by Mark Petersen »
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