View Full Version : Timing... cool if it's true

Dave Hadfield
12-02-2016, 12:11 PM
The passenger steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the waters of the mid-Pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia. The navigator had just finished working out a star fix & brought the master, Captain John Phillips, the result. The Warrimoo's position was LAT 0o 31' N and LON 179 30' W. The date was 31 December 1899.
"Know what this means?" First Mate Payton broke in, "We're only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line".

Captain Phillips was prankish enough to take full advantage of the opportunity for achieving the navigational freak of a lifetime. He called his navigators to the bridge to check & double check the ships position. He changed course slightly so as to bear directly on his mark. Then he adjusted the engine speed. The calm weather & clear night worked in his favor.

At midnight the SS Warrimoo lay on the Equator at exactly the point where it crossed the International Date Line! The consequences of this bizarre position were many:

The forward part (bow) of the ship was in the Southern Hemisphere & the middle of summer.
The rear (stern) was in the Northern Hemisphere & in the middle of winter.
The date in the aft part of the ship was 31 December 1899.
In the bow (forward) part it was 1 January 1900.

This ship was therefore not only in:

two different days,
two different months,
two different years,
two different seasons
but in two different centuries - all at the same time.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=c74f91497b&view=fimg&th=158bcf96c60c004c&attid=0.1.1&disp=emb&attbid=ANGjdJ9IFPtKIghKejbU_VdceLJowwIGkq9pvCcis1S ZpIqpNA5DM_xXJUdsHxhuiL56t0JWOitlo_2_MbODVJohZ24uj r2PLAe_vVPh_OJYgouWUEme1mqsqV3knm4&sz=w1160-h576&ats=1480695280233&rm=158bcf96c60c004c&zw&atsh=1

12-02-2016, 12:16 PM
Hah! I hope that is indeed true.

12-02-2016, 12:21 PM
I'd be more inclined to believe if they were using Trimble survey grade GPS.

12-02-2016, 12:22 PM
Might be true...

"In 1895, Mark Twain was travelling to Australia aboard the S.S. Warrimoo. In dire financial difficulties, he was embarking on an around the world speaking tour during which he also wrote ‘Following the Equator,’ his account of the journey. In it, he notes the moment the ship crossed the equator:

A sailor explained to a young girl that the ship’s speed is poor because we are climbing up the bulge toward the center of the globe; but that when we should once get over, at the equator, and start down-hill, we should fly.

Afternoon. Crossed the equator. In the distance it looked like a blue ribbon stretched across the ocean. Several passengers kodak’d it.

Three days later, he describes crossing the international dateline:

While we were crossing the 180th meridian it was Sunday in the stern of the ship where my family were, and Tuesday in the bow where I was. They were there eating the half of a fresh apple on the 8th, and I was at the same time eating the other half of it on the 10th–and I could notice how stale it was, already. The family were the same age that they were when I had left them five minutes before, but I was a day older now than I was then. The day they were living in stretched behind them half way round the globe, across the Pacific Ocean and America and Europe; the day I was living in stretched in front of me around the other half to meet it.

Along about the moment that we were crossing the Great Meridian a child
was born in the steerage, and now there is no way to tell which day it
was born on. The nurse thinks it was Sunday, the surgeon thinks it was
Tuesday. The child will never know its own birthday. It will always be
choosing first one and then the other, and will never be able to make up
its mind permanently. This will breed vacillation and uncertainty in its
opinions about religion, and politics, and business, and sweethearts, and
everything, and will undermine its principles, and rot them away, and
make the poor thing characterless, and its success in life impossible.

Four years after Twain’s voyage, the Warrimoo was again travelling from Canada to Australia. The date was December 30, 1899 and nearing midnight. The captain, sensing a unique opportunity, headed for the point at which the equator crosses the international dateline. At precisely midnight, the front end of the ship was enjoying summer in the southern hemisphere on the first day of the new century. The rear of the ship remained in the Northern hemisphere in midwinter on the final day of the nineteenth century."

12-02-2016, 04:25 PM

David W Pratt
12-02-2016, 04:49 PM
Doesn't the century begin Jan 1, XX01?

12-02-2016, 06:49 PM
There may be some truth, but....always a but....Without special instruments (not invented in 1899) you could not do a star sight at midnight because you would not normally (very seldom...only on a very bright moonlit night with a large moon) have a good enough horizon. Star sights are taken at dusk, when the first stars come out and the horizon is still visible. You might take a lunar sight without a good horizon (Basically the angle between a star and the surface of the moon) The calculations are quite difficult and few mariners could do it, specially by hand. I think most likely the Captain would set things up as closely as possible and work on the DR from dusk till midnight. You could still make the claim I think.

In the century changed almost 17 years ago, the person sitting on the other side of the table from you to the east or west would have (In apparent time) change centuries either 0.1 seconds before you or after you.

I once crossed the date line at ~23;30 Friday 13th and had 2 Friday 13ths in a row.

Jim Bow
12-02-2016, 07:46 PM

12-02-2016, 07:53 PM
Doesn't the century begin Jan 1, XX01?


12-02-2016, 08:22 PM
MM or more likely MCM ;)