Monday, November 21, 2011

A Food Supply for the Nephites and Mulekites

Many theorists have suggested that the Lehi Colony sailed through Indonesia and across the Pacific, island-hopping their way through the numerous islands of Micronesia and Melonesia, on their way to Mesoamerica. This is claimed because of what they consider to be Lehi’s need for food and water on such a long voyage.

Obviously, the European mariners of the 14th through 19th centuries had great difficulty with running out of food and supplies, especially water, on their voyages of discovery.

On the other hand, the Lehi Colony and later the Mulekites, were led across the ocean by the hand of the Lord, who thoroughly prepared them for whatever they would need. In addition, the Lord knew where Lehi was going, what waters he would be sailing, and what would take place along the way. Thus, we find, as Thor Heyerdhal did in his Kon-Tiki voyages, that food and water were plentifully supplied by nature on such a voyage.

Moving with the current along the course of the Southern Ocean as they were turned north in the Humbolt Current (see last post), “there was access to a continual supply of fish, which included flying fish, sardines, tunnies, bonitos, dolphins, shark, pilot fish, remora fish, and squid.” In fact, these drift-voyage sailors said that flying fish often landed on the deck of the ship which coasted with the current, as many as half a dozen to nearly two dozen in a single night, and dolphins and tunnies swam close alongside and were easily snared—and the dolphins were extremely delicious especially when eaten fresh the first or second day after the catch.”

Even shark which swam close alongside were simple to catch with hand-harpoons or hooks and were good tasting when sliced and soaked overnight in sea-water. Bonito and dolphin occasionally came onto the deck and floundered as the water receded, and were, with the flying fish excellent bait for catching dolphin and tunny.

In addition to fish, seaweed and barnacles immediately attached themselves to the wet boards and, grew quickly to edible size all over the bottom as plankton and pelagic crabs and tiny fish found refuge in the seaweed. In eating such caught fish, the ancient Peruvians soaked it in fruit-juice, and early Peruvian boats were seen by the Spanish conquerors to have cooking places of flat stones over the wood deck covered with wet earth or clay, or plaited baskets filled with dry earth.

In addition, Heyerdahl found that rainwater could be collected at sea from a sail spread out on deck or from other means, and large jars or animal bladders can be filled and stored. He also found that a person could chew thirst-quenching moisture from raw fish, or press it out of pieces twisted inside a cloth. The British Royal Air Force recommends that 20% to 40% sea water be added to regular water intake on hot days where natural body salts are lost, and Samoans claim that certain leaves and herbs will allow a person under certain conditions to drink sea water with impunity. In Peru leaves of the coca tree are chewed with wood ashes or lime and used by Indian travelers and sportsmen to remove the sense of thirst and hunger.

Gourd or other containers could be carried beneath the deck and alongside awash within the current to keep the water fresh and cool and away from the heat which so quickly turns water brackish and nearly undrinkable. In addition, a person's water requirements can be diminished by keeping the body frequently under water.

Whatever the knowledge the Lord imparted to the Nephites and Mulekites, it could have been advanced from even these simple methods of extending ocean voyages without suffering from lack of supplies, food or water.

Lastly, in the case of the Nephites and Mulekites, the swiftness of the currents and winds in the Southern Ocean are so great, that modern sailboat enthusiasts have found it a quick path traveling east beyond Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Several races have used this path, and though modern small sailing vessels have been quite successful sailing these waters, before such knowledge of construction was available, it would have taken a very strong and sturdy ship to withstand the constant pounding of surf and winds.

When Nephi said he did not build his ship after the manner of men (1 Nephi 18:2), it becomes understandable in light of the path he had to sail. Ships of his day, and for many centuries afterward, were merely flimsy coastal vessels. To reach the Western Hemisphere, Nephi needed to build a very different ship than what was known in 600 B.C.

No comments:

Post a Comment