Flotsam and Jetsam in the Indian Ocean

Have you watched the 2013 Robert Redford movie All Is Lost? It gives you pause for consideration if your plan is to cross the Indian Ocean soon. We watched the movie and actually enjoyed it though other sailors panned it as unrealistic if you're a real sailor. He made mistakes and perhaps didn't prepare for potential problems. Conversely, he did some pretty innovative things in an attempt to save his boat. There were some issues with details, but in general, we thought it was a reasonably good flick. The fact that his boat ending up sinking certainly didn't dissuade us from wanting to cross the Indian Ocean.  

all is lost


There seems to be an inordinate amount of flotsam and jetsam in the Indian Ocean however. First, let's define flotsam and jetsam. Flotsam is debris floating in the ocean that got there by accident and it apparently comes from the French word floter, to float. Jetsam, a derivative of jettison, is debris floating out there that was deliberately thrown overboard, perhaps from an overburdened vessel. You've heard of the horse latitudes, haven't you? There's a lot of both flotsam and jetsam floating around out there, we imagine. We've certainly seen what washes ashore and it's got to float in from somewhere.


flotsam on the beach


There's the possibility of finding some debris from the Malaysian Airline Flight 370 that purportedly disappeared over the Indian Ocean. Those loose ship containers are found in the all the oceans including the Indian. The odds of hitting one are low, and we're hoping since Robert Redford found one, we won't. And don't forget that the SkyLab crashed over the Indian Ocean back in 1979. Though much of the debris ended up near Esperance in the Australian Outback, who's to say that NASA didn't do a thorough enough clean-up and there's still SkyLab remnants floating around in the Indian? I think it would be classified at jetsam, by the way.




In case you're wondering, we also read and watched The Perfect Storm way back when we were first started out on Nine of Cups in 2000. We actually anchored in Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts, the home port of the fishing vessels involved. It did not deter us from sailing, but big waves certainly get our attention as do “perfect” weather patterns. We'll try to avoid both.