19 Nov Tools of the Trade
Tools of the trade
I caught Salty at the nav station mulling over the days plotting sheet. At least I figure it was mulling as a look of confusion flashed his furry features before his usual Sir Salty Your Grace and Eminence countenance returned.
In all fairness, any confusion on his part would be shard by most sailors of any rank these days. Not everyone chooses to navigate the old fashioned way. Old fashioned in this context being pre-GPS.
Here’s what I’m using to find my way around the 5 Capes.
1. A sextant. I’ve got two aboard just in case one gets about or falls overboard. I’ve also got a Bris Sextant aboard, but it is a sun angle repeater and not a true sextant.
2. A nautical almanac. This tells me where the sun, moon, planets or stars are in relation to a fixed reference on the earth.
3. Tables. These are the S-Tables. This little guy solves the sperical geometry equations necessary to tell me where I am in relation to the heavenly bodies listed in 2 above.
4. Worksheets. These are used to do help simplify the steps necessary to work through the almanac and the tables.
That’s it. Even the things I’m using are vastly superior to the tools that were used to explore and navigate the globe by the great explorers, adventurers, and surveyors in modern history. To find your way in a vast emptiness with only the sea and sky to guide you is a deeply human experience. It is hard-wired into all of us. If it were not, we would not have survived for we would never have learned how to return to safety, return to a particular food source at a particular time of year, or avoid or enemies be they man or beast.
The birds, salmon, whales, and even the Monarch Butterfly all navigate great distances with ease. We humans need a little more help in the form technology and gadgets to even come close.
And with that said, I realize that Salty wasn’t confused at all. He figured I was seeing as I needed all this stuff just to get around. He was likely looking at the chart figuring out where we were when that flying fish came aboard so he could get us turned around and back there.
Follow my tracks in real-time: