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Posts Tagged ‘First voyage

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: Buenos Aires to the Straits of Magellan

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Follow Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum.

On 26Jan1896, Slocum sails from Buenos Aires and soon runs into a gale which changes the appearance of the River Plate from silver disk to brown mud. It takes 2 days to reach the mouth of the river against a head wind, then Slocum plots a course between Point Indio on the Argentine shore and English Bank on the Uruguayan side of the channel.

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He keeps about 50 miles offshore in order to avoid the tide races around the capes. The disadvantage of this approach is that the Spray is exposed to heavier seas. One particularly mountainous wave completely submerges the yawl, but Slocum hears it coming and manages to drop all sails and climb to relative safety in the rigging.

The mountain of water submerged my vessel. She shook in every timber and reeled under the weight of the sea, but rose quickly out of it, and rode grandly over the rollers that followed. It may have been a minute that from my hold in the rigging I could see no part of the Spray‘s hull.

After his life has finished flashing before his eyes, Slocum’s first thought, in paraphrase, is: “I’m going to need a bigger boat.” Even so, he is encouraged to think that the Spray will survive the tempestuous seas around Cape Horn.

The giant wave rolls on by and the following days are more serene with light winds and a smooth sea. In these conditions Slocum often sees mirages that affect the apparent size of everything: an albatross looking like a ship and fur-seals looking like great whales.

The kaleidoscope then changed, and on the following day I sailed in a world peopled by dwarfs.

Technical note: Using my TourMaker tool, it was fun to animate the submergence of the Spray. I wanted to dip the hull 3 metres below the surface; however, the scale of the model at that point of the animation is X7500. That meant setting the altitude of the model to -22500 metres below sea level to get the desired effect i.e. right down into the Earth’s crust!  I later adjusted this to -22000.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

If you haven’t seen it yet, do please take a look at the presentation of Slocum’s voyage at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum. It use the Google Earth plug-in which works in most modern browsers.

You may also enjoy Cook’s first voyage round the world at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Cook

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Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: Montevideo and Buenos Aires

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Follow Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum.

Chapter VI is now complete, covering the voyage from Rio de Janeiro via the sand-hills of Castillo Chicos to Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

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I’m trying something new in the presentation, which is enabling the 3D building layer. Whether or not I keep this in will depend on how the performance looks. My old laptop seems to manage reasonably well.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

If you like the presentation of Slocum’s voyage at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum, then you may also enjoy Cook’s first voyage round the world at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Cook

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: Rio to Castillo Chicos

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Follow Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum.

Today was the first outing for my new model of the Spray and it sees Slocum sailing from Rio on 28Nov1895 at the start of Chapter V.

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He sails south in mixed weather, starting with gales but becoming more moderate. His old, tin, one-dollar clock, presumably set to the correct time in Rio, gives him the same longitude as the expensive chronometer ticking on the bridge of the steamship South Wales which Slocum meets in longitude 48degrees west; Slocum feels confident in his navigational skills; but pride comes before a landfall and on 11Dec1895 the Spray sails straight on to the beach when Slocum mistakes sand-hills in the moonlight for a gentle ocean swell.

The trick to getting afloat is to take out an anchor, secure it firmly on the seabed, and use the windlass to haul the yacht out to sea. Slocum’s dory is not up to the task of carrying his main anchor and 40 fathoms of cable through the surf and out to a sufficient depth of water. The leaky boat is soon full to the gunwales. Slocum throws the anchor overboard and shortly after the dory capsizes. At this point Slocum writes:

I grasped her gunwale and held on as she turned bottom up, for I suddenly remembered that I could not swim.

His first attempt to right the dory is so enthusiastic she rolls right over and he’s back at square one clinging on for his life. It took three more attempts to right the boat and climb carefully aboard. Using one retrieved oar, he paddles back to the Spray to finish the job by carrying out the other half of the anchor cable. He is rather relieved to find that, by the time he carries the end back to the yacht, it just reaches the windlass, allowing him to “secure a turn and no more”. There’s nothing more he can do until the next high tide and he lies among the sand-hills to shelter from the wind and feeling “somewhat the worse for wear and pretty full of salt water”.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

If you like the presentation of Slocum’s voyage at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum, then you may also enjoy Cook’s first voyage round the world at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Cook

Captain Cook’s First Voyage Round The World

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The following slideshow and image gallery show screenshots taken from Captain Cook’s First Voyage Round The World, a presentation of Cook’s journal containing more than 15 hours of animation and audio.

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To view the presentation, point your web browser to http://www.hazelhurst.net/Cook/ and install the Google Earth plug-in if you don’t already have it installed.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

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If you enjoyed Cook’s voyage, you might also like Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World, a similar virtual re-enactment of a famous sea voyage by the first single-handed circumnavigator; this presentation is still under construction.

 

Captain Cook in Google Earth: Tahiti to New Zealand

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After observing the transit of Venus, James Cook headed south in search of land. Many geographers thought there must be a great southern continent (terra australis incognita); Cook’s sealed orders instructed him to search for it.

Leaving Tahiti on 17Jul1769, Cook spent the rest of July and the first week of August, exploring the nearby islands of Huaheine, Otaha, and Ulietea.

On 09Aug1769, H.M. Bark Endeavour set sail from Ulietea in the latitude of 16.75 degrees south. They left the tropics after crossing  the Tropic of Capricorn on the 15th. During the remaining days of August, Cook resolutely pushed south into progressively ‘tempestious’ weather. At higher latitudes than 37S the winds were fierce and Cook decided that the risks to the ship and her rigging were too great; on 02Sep1769 the ship’s head was pointed north in order to return to latitudes with less violent conditions.

The huge swells coming from the south and south-west convinced Cook that there was no land in that direction for a considerable distance, the point being that high waves need time and space to develop (what oceanographers call ‘fetch’); if there were land nearby the waves would be smaller.

For the first part of September, Endeavour was sailed to the north and the west, and for the last ten days she sailed west and south. Early in October New Zealand was sighted.


The first weeks of the voyage between Tahiti and New Zealand were published some months ago as part of my Google Earth tour which presents Cook’s first voyage round the world. I have now added the journey from Ulietea to New Zealand.

The truth is that, although Cook’s journal carries the description ‘Remarkable Occurrences in the South Seas’, between 14Aug1769 and 02Oct1769 the only significant events were:

  • saw a comet…
  • saw a water spout…
  • saw a piece of wood…
  • saw lots of birds: albatrosses, shearwaters, and several other types…

Perhaps the saddest event was the death of John Reading, bosun’s mate, who seems to have succumbed to an overdose of rum.

For the sake of completeness, I have recorded and published audio files for this part of Cook’s voyage with a total run-time of 45 minutes. To bypass the relative tedium of this display, I used TourMaker to create a presentation which runs for just over 6 minutes. This has no narrative and animates the 3D model ship at the rate of 5 seconds per day.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

Images of Earth © Google and others

If you would like to follow Cook’s voyage, you will need to install the latest version of Google Earth on your computer; then go to the Captain Cook blog  and click on the links on the right-hand side of the page, under the ‘Google Earth’ heading. After the animation is loaded in Google Earth, you need to expand an entry in the Table of Contents. You will see a ‘Play’ icon which you double-click to start the animation. Don’t forget to enable your speakers to hear the spoken journal.

Captain Cook in Google Earth: The Society Isles

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Click here to load the tour in Google Earth => Tahiti To New Zealand or click the following link to view Cook’s journal and access other Google Earth tours => journal of the first voyage round the world


Huaheine, 17Jul1769

Huaheine, 17Jul1769

After an extended visit to Tahiti, during which successful observations of the transit of Venus were made, Cook embarked on the second phase of his exploration of the Pacific. His instructions were to search for a possible southern continent. He started by visiting the small group of islands to the north and west of Tahiti, the so-called Society Isles. He arrived at Huaheine on 17Jul1769 and stayed until the 20th.

He exchanged gifts with Oree, the chief of the people living on the island, and traded with him for fresh food.

Inside the reef on Ulietea, 24Jul1769

Inside the reef on Ulietea, 24Jul1769

A short distance to the west of Huaheine lie the islands of Ulietea and Otaha, with Bolabola (Bora Bora) and Tubai just beyond.

At Ulietea, Cook found safe anchorage:

This harbour, taken in its greatest extent, is capable of holding any number of shipping in perfect security, as it extends almost the whole length of this side of the island, and is defended from the sea by a reef of coral rocks.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora, 29Jul1769

On the 29th, Endeavour was passing Bolabola (Bora Bora) but making little headway against strong winds and a heavy swell from the south. Cook decided that the ship needed more ballast so that the ship could carry more sail in strong winds, therefore they sailed down to the west coast of Ulietea and found another safe harbour on this side of the island.

Raotoanui Harbour, Ulietea

Raotoanui Harbour, Ulietea

The ballast was taken aboard along with fresh water. The local customs were followed and ceremonies performed appropriate to landing on another’s territory in a peaceable manner. Cook also observed the local music, dancing, and drama:

The music consisted of 3 drums, and the dancing was mostly performed by 2 young women and one man…they made very little use of their feet and legs in dancing, but one part or another of their bodies were in continual motion and in various postures, as standing, sitting, and upon their hands and knees, making strange contortions. Their arms, hands, and fingers they moved with great agility and in a very extraordinary manner, and although they were very exact in observing the same motion in all their movements, yet neither their music or dancing were at all calculated to please a European.

Endeavour left Ulietea on Wednesday, 09Aug1769 with the firm intention of heading south, and Cook was content that the ship was now well stocked:

Since we have been about these islands, we have expended but little of our sea provisions, and have at this last place been very plentifully supplied with hogs, fowls, plantains, and yams, which will be of very great use to us in case we should not discover any lands in our route to the southward, the way I now intend to steer.


Today, I added two legs of Cook’s exploration of the Pacific Ocean to my Google Earth tour which presents his first voyage round the world. From Tahiti, I leapt ahead to show Cook’s circumnavigation of New Zealand and the exploration of the east coast of Australia. Now, I’ve returned to fill in the gaps.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012
Images of Earth © Google and others

If you would like to follow Cook’s voyage, you will need to install the latest version of Google Earth on your computer; then go to the Captain Cook blog  and click on the links on the right-hand side of the page, under the ‘Google Earth’ heading. After the animation is loaded in Google Earth, you need to expand an entry in the Table of Contents. You will see a ‘Play’ icon which you double-click to start the animation. Don’t forget to enable your speakers to hear the spoken journal.

Captain Cook in Google Earth: Cape York to the Indonesian seas

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The channel next to the mainland was blocked by shoals and rocks (22Aug1770)

The channel next to the mainland was blocked by shoals and rocks (22Aug1770)

Even before reaching the western edge of Cape York it was clear that there was a passage to the south-west between the mainland and some islands. Cook instructed the smaller boats to sound the first channel between the mainland and the first island. They found this to be blocked by rocks and shoals, so Cook gave the signal for them to try the next channel. Here they found not less than 5 fathoms and they sailed through to anchor a few miles beyond the entrance to the channel.

Entrance to Endeavour Strait (22Aug1770)

Entrance to Endeavour Strait (22Aug1770)

Cook looked between the mainland to the south-west and Cape Cornwall on Prince of Wales Island:

Between these 2 points we could see  no land, so that we were in great hopes that we had at last found out a passage into the Indian seas; but in order to be better informed I landed with a party of men…upon the island which lies at the south-east point of the passage…after landing I went upon the highest hill which, however was of no great height, yet no less than twice or thrice the height of the ship’s mastheads; but I could see from it no land between south-west and west-south-west…

Possession Island

Possession Island

There is ambiguity on the internet concerning the island on which Cook landed. Look at this snapshot:

Will the real Possession Island please make itself known?

Will the real Possession Island please make itself known?

Wikipedia (places named by James Cook) goes for the island at the north-east end of the passage; surely that can’t be right. There are certainly some errors in Cook’s journal, but would he go to the island that was lower than the one next to it and further away from the direction he wanted to look?

The Google Earth Borders and Labels layer plumps for a patch of very low lying reef; certainly that is wrong.

I  chose for the tour the island that is actually at the south-east end of the entrance to Endeavour Strait and is actually high enough, at 70 metres, to be ‘no less than twice or thrice the height of the ship’s mastheads’.

There was no land to the south-west

There was no land to the south-west

Even from this vantage point Cook was still objective to the point of reticence:

Having satisfied myself of the great probability of a passage thro’ which I intended to go with the ship, and therefore may land no more upon this eastern coast of New Holland…I now once more hoisted English colours, and in the name of His Majesty King George The Third took possession of the whole eastern coast.

we fired 3 volleys of small arms which were answered by the like number from the ship

we fired 3 volleys of small arms which were answered by the like number from the ship

The following day, Endeavour sailed the length of Endeavour Strait and steered north-west for the small island which Cook named Booby Island (no prizes for guessing why). On entering Torres Strait, Cook noticed the swell from the south-west. This convinced him that there was no land in that direction for some distance and therefore:

…we had got to the westward extremity of Carpentaria, or the northern extremity of New Holland, and had now and open sea to the westward; which gave me no small satisfaction, not only because the danger and fatigues of the voyage was drawing near to an end, but by being able to prove that New Holland and New Guinea are two separate lands or islands, which until this day hath been a doubtful point among geographers.


Today, I added this leg of Cook’s exploration of the Australian coast to my Google Earth tour which presents his first voyage round the world. This leg completes my documentation of Cook’s exploration of Australia, from Point Hicks in the south to Cape York in the north.

Along the way Endeavour made an extended visit to Botany Bay, ran aground on a reef, was repaired in Endeavour river, passed outside the reef through Cook’s passage near Lizard Island, only to be nearly smashed to pieces on its outer edge a few days later. The ship was saved by being able to re-enter the reef system through Providential Channel.

Through perseverance and cautious navigation, Endeavour rounded Cape York less than a week later. Cook landed on Possession Island, from the summit of which he began to believe that he had found a passage between New Holland and New Guinea.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012
Images of Earth © Google and others

If you would like to follow Cook’s voyage, you will need to install the latest version of Google Earth on your computer; then go to the Captain Cook blog  and click on the links on the right-hand side of the page, under the ‘Google Earth’ heading. After the animation is loaded in Google Earth, you need to expand an entry in the Table of Contents. You will see a ‘Play’ icon which you double-click to start the animation. Don’t forget to enable your speakers to hear the spoken journal.

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