thinking outside the tank

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: arriving at Fayal in the Azores

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This series of posts reports progress on a project to present Joshua Slocum‘s single-handed voyage around the world aboard the sloop/yawl Spray between April 1895 and June 1898.

Today I added Chapter III of Slocum’s book to the presentation which can be viewed at:

Anchored at Horta on Faial exactly 18 days after rounding Cape Sable

In this section of the voyage Slocum sails from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on 02Jul1895 rounding Cape Sable at 4:30 p.m.

He follows the coast as far as Halifax, squaring away by the Chebucto Head Light in the direction of Sable Island. He passes the island in thick fog and knows by sounding with the lead when he is clear of all shoal water.

For the first few days he feels a great loneliness. He talks to an imaginary helmsman and greets the full moon with: “Good evening, sir, I’m glad to see you.” He soon drops the practice of talking aloud and instead starts to sing, finding that the porpoises are a more appreciative audience than the turtles – because they jump higher.

Once beyond this dark phase his spirits are much higher. He meets other shipping:

  • La Vaguisa gives him a bottle of wine.
  • The Java of Glasgow envies the speed with which the Spray skips along in the lightest of winds.
  • The business-like S.S. Olympia sails past at 11:30 a.m. on 18Jul1895 in the longitude 34 degrees 50 minutes west.

He passes the island of Flores, an outlier of the Azores group on 19Jul1895 and by the 20th he sees the towering peak of Pico on the starboard bow.

He is impressed by the greenness of the cultivated fields: “Only those who have seen the Azores from the deck of a vessel realize the beauty of the mid-ocean picture.” I can vouch for that, having arrived off San Miguel in 1976 aboard R.R.S. Discovery, flagship at the time of the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences for whom I had the privilege of working as a Scientific Officer.

Slocum anchors at Horta, Fayal at 4:30 p.m., exactly 18 days after leaving Cape Sable having averaged 150 miles per day over one 8 day period.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

Note: to view the presentation you will need to install the Google Earth plugin in your web browser

Written by netkingcol

August 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm

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