In a zombie apocalypse, there are two main struggles for survival. One against the zombies and the other to get enough food to survive. Believe it or not, one of the best places to be to ease both these struggles is where the sea meets the shore. Humans have always prized such locations because of the protection they can provide and the abundance of food they offer. We know this because throughout the world, we find evidence of ancient middens made up of the shells of millions of discarded oysters, mussels and other seafood. These middens were created by humans over hundreds and thousands of years as our ancestors foraged for food. Their sheer size and the length of time over which they were laid down show just how important these habitats have always been for human survival.
Why is this? Well, twice a day, driven by the power of the moon, the sea recedes, revealing a bounty of potential food items ranging from crabs to oysters, limpets, cockles and even small fish. With even the slightest amount of effort, you can easily gather enough food to survive in just a few quick minutes, and that beats having to fight other survivors for the last remaining can of spam in some suburban supermarket.
Of course, not all shorelines are equally productive, and you need to select just the right kind of beach if, after the end of the world, you’re going to set up camp and live off the sea like so many of our ancestors once did. At first glance, you might think that a broad, sandy beach would be best, but while they are attractive to look at, they’re like marine deserts. There’s food there, but you’ll have to work hard to find it and you’ll struggle to scrape enough together just to keep you alive. Instead, you’d want to head for a rocky shore because it’s here that the real bounty lies. This is because, clinging to the rocks is seaweed, and where there is seaweed, there’s life in great abundance. When it’s covered with water, this seaweed sways majestically in the currents, and forms the marine equivalent of a tropical forest. Once the tide goes out, this forest collapses, but it pull back and you’ll see the abundant life that lies below, just waiting for you to harvest it. In as little as five minutes, you can have enough to feed you all day, leaving you plenty of time for that other crucial element, surviving the zombies themselves.
As it happens, rocky shorelines are also great places for building a safe and easy to defend camp, especially if they’re littered with small islands. It’s no accident that such islands have been used as places of safety by humans since before recorded history began. The water acts as a defensive barrier that is harder to breach than anything you could build yourself, and even marauding zombies will struggle to cross it. Why? Because, as everyone know, zombies can’t swim.
Of course, the occasional zombie may still reach an island, and that means you’ll need to have some sort of defensive structure to which you can retreat whenever danger threatens. In my native Scotland, ancient buildings, known as brochs, bare testament to how others have solved this problem in the past, but in the event of a zombie apocalypse, it is unlikely you’d have time to build such structures yourself. Instead, you’d be better off seeking out a structure that’s already there.
Luckily, rocky shorelines and islands are just the place to find a type of building that would be just perfect. What buildings are these? They’re lighthouses. Built to withhold the worst that the sea can throw at them, lighthouses are build to last. They also have a single point of entry, and small windows, often set high above the ground. Add to that a viewing platform at the top from which you can pick off any zombies which make it to your island base, and you can see why they’d make a great place to seek refuge.
So there you have it. If you select just the right location, rocky shorelines can easily meet all your zombie apocalypse needs: Food, shelter and protection, and if one were every to happen, you can bet that’s where I’d be heading. And even if there isn’t a zombie apocalypse, they’re still worth checking out, especially if you have young children. They’ll enjoy the thrill of pulling back the sea weed to see what wonders lie beneath, and while they’re having fun, they’re also learning how to forage for their own food – should the need ever arise.
From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.
To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.
Why the waters’ edge is the perfect place to survive in a zombie apocalypse. Plenty of food (especially on rocky shores highly tidal areas, more than capable to supporting populations – as indicated by ancient shell middens laid down over hundreds of years by hunter gatherers). Can escape out to sea if attacked by zombies (assuming zombies can’t swim!) or other people. Larder opens twice a day, and on top of that fishing as well as setting traps for crabs n lobsters, spear fishing, Can find lots of potentially useful things by beach combing – the detritus of modern society washed up there, offering many useful things – what was once trash is now valuable to survival. Also makes moving around much safer (no ambushes etc) just as in days of old before land was claered and made safe