thinking outside the tank

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: Port Angosto to the Pacific Ocean

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Follow Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World at:

Laden with tallow and other salvaged cargo, and with her sails white in the snow, Slocum manages, just, to get the Spray into a snug nook in Port Angosto, still 60 miles short of Cape Pillar and the Pacific.

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Slocum now takes the time to refit the Spray. He reorganises the cargo and the cabin; he fixes the sails and rigging; and he adds a jigger mast to convert his sloop into a yawl – all work that is preparing her for the Pacific voyage ahead.

There is another, final, encounter with Fuegians. They sneak up on the Spray while Slocum is at work on the decks and shoot two arrows at him. The first whizzes past into the sea but the second embeds itself in the mast. Slocum raises his trusty Martini-Henry rifle and fires into the bushes. At the first shot, three Fuegians leap up and start running. He keeps firing to make sure they get the message and that’s the last he sees of ‘savages’, though he continues to lay carpet tacks on the deck at night.

After six failed attempts to get out of his anchorage, he sails from Port Angosto on 13Apr1896, but doesn’t escape without first drifting three times round an island, which he names Alan Erric Island after an acquaintance. In the strait, the wind is fair, a strong southeaster, and on the same day he breaks free of the Straits of Magellan, Cape Horn, and Tierra del Fuego, destination – Juan Fernandez, or Robinson Crusoe’s Island.

This section of Joshua Slocum’s journey is the opening section of Chapter X of Sailing Alone Around the World, and this post is a trailer for the adventure that I am retelling in Google Earth at:

Slocum added a jigger mast to the Spray while in Port Angosto, converting her to a yawl (“though I called the boat a sloop just the same”). In 3D modelling terms, this was my first opportunity to use the full, yawl-rigged model and the one that will be used for the rest of the voyage. You might have noticed that for a few days I had the rig changing at Rio de Janeiro but, realising that Slocum only added the semi-circular stanchion there, I created another model that included the stanchion and used that from Rio to Port Angosto.

Note that I couldn’t find Alan Erric Island on a chart so I chose a likely looking one in the harbour and one that it was feasible for me to animate the model around. If you know the exact location of Alan Erric Island I’d be happy to change the Spray‘s track to circumnavigate it, otherwise artistic licence prevails.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

You might also enjoy Cook’s first voyage round the world at:


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