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Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: the Azores to Gibraltar

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Joshua Slocum sailed single-handed around the world aboard his yacht Spray between April 1895 and June 1898. He was the first to achieve such a feat.

You can follow the voyage at:

Today I added Chapter IV of Slocum’s book to the presentation.

Between Faial and Pico

Slocum leaves Horta on 24Jul1895; at first the winds are light but only a few miles out the Spray is almost dismasted by a violent squall running down off the mountains. After emergency repairs and some help from a local ‘sailorly chap’ he is soon on his way.

Through the generosity of the Azoreans his ship is laden with fruit; Slocum partakes freely of the plums and also digs into a Pico white cheese given him by General Manning, the American Consul-General; the result: violent stomach cramps and great pain which lasts for two days.

Slocum is delirious and convinced that he is visited by the pilot of Columbus’s ship Pinta who steers his yacht through the night.

The apparition at the wheel

I am the pilot of the Pinta come to aid you. Lie quiet, senor captain, and I will guide your ship tonight. You have a calentura but you will be all right tomorrow.

Slocum realises that his boat is in fact capable of sailing steadily on a course with very little attention. His health improves and so does the weather. He catches a turtle and hauls it on board using the halyard for the mainsail wrapped around a flipper.

He awoke with my harpoon through his neck, if he awoke at all…the turtle-steak was good.

The Spray hits another gale and her jib is ripped to shreds; progress slows to 51 miles per day. On 04Aug1895 Slocum writes wryly:

Early the next morning, August 4, I discovered Spain. I saw fires on shore, and knew that the country was inhabited.

Having just finished my project of Captain Cook’s first voyage round the world, I recognise this immediately as a phrase that Cook often uses in his journal during the circumnavigation of New Zealand and when exploring the east coast of Australia.

I discovered Spain. I saw fires on shore and knew that the land was inhabited.

From Trafalgar, where he makes his landfall, it’s a short trip for Slocum and Spray to reach Gibraltar. He anchors by the old mole among the ‘native’ craft where it looks rough and uncomfortable…

At anchor by the old mole in Gibraltar

…but is soon towed by a British steam-launch into a more comfortable berth by the arsenal.

Slocum enjoys British hospitality in Gibraltar for 3 weeks; the ship is repaired; he attends a round of parties and takes a trip to the Moroccan shore on a fast torpedo-boat.

At each place, and all about, I felt the friendly grasp of a manly hand, that lent me vital strength to pass the coming long days at sea.

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 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To view the presentation, point your web browser to and install the Google Earth plug-in if you don’t already have it installed.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

You might also like:

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: South Island, New Zealand

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Doubtful Bay

…and today, I added the exploration of South Island, New Zealand to the website, which can be found at:

The screenshot shows Endeavour off Doubtful Bay; ‘doubtful’ because it was not certain that, having once entered the bay, it would be possible to bring the ship out without a long wait for a suitable wind. There were steep cliffs rising to high mountains on both sides of the bay, so only a wind blowing out of it would allow the ship to be manoeuvred. Cook judged that this would occur only one day per month.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

Captain Cook in Google Earth: North Island, New Zealand

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I am busy chopping up and rearranging the Google Earth tours I prepared last year which present Captain Cook‘s first voyage round the world. Today, I added the circumnavigation of North Island, New Zealand to the new website which can be found at:

The screenshot above shows Mount Egmont in the south of  North Island.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

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.

James Cook and the 1769 transit of Venus

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Read Cook’s journal here: Cook’s Journal during the First Voyage round the World

Cook’s log for 03Jun1769

Lieutenant James Cook was leaving nothing to chance in June, 1769, as his expedition to observe the transit of Venus approached its culmination.

The weather in May having been quite variable, there was a risk that the Sun would be obscured by cloud at the observation post he had set up on Tahiti (Point Venus). Therefore, a full two days before the transit, he despatched Lieutenant Gore, Dr. Monkhouse, and Joseph Banks to York Island which lies to the west of Tahiti. The following day he sent Lieutenant Hicks to the east with another team comprising Mr. Clark, Mr. Pickersgill, and Mr. Saunders. Their task was to find a convenient spot from which to observe the transit.

Deployed in this way there was a higher probability that at least one team would make satisfactory observations of the time of contact of the disk of Venus with that of the Sun. Each group was provided with instruments by Mr. Charles Green, an assistant at the Greenwich Royal Observatory, who was the leading astronomer on the expedition. Mr. Green, Dr. Solander, and Cook himself observed the transit at Point Venus.

On the run-up to the 2012 transit of Venus, you can add to your experience by following Cook’s journal as it reports his endeavours; and after the transit you can follow his exploration of the South Seas, New Zealand, and Australia, and even watch an animated model in Google Earth as it follows the ship’s track.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

Captain Cook explores Australia in Google Earth

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Endeavour hove to off Cape Howe

Endeavour hove to off Cape Howe (20Apr1770)

Last year I started a Google Earth project to present Lieutenant James Cook’s account of his first voyage round the world. At the same time, I launched a WordPress blog to deliver the daily entries of his journal on the corresponding day of the year (the calendar for 2011  followed that for 1768, the year H.M. Bark Endeavour set off from Plymouth).

The technique  in Google Earth is to animate a model so that it follows the track of Cook’s ship. The animation is accompanied by an audio rendition of Cook’s journal. So far I have ‘sailed’ Endeavour from Plymouth to Tahiti, via Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, and Tierra del Fuego; then I modelled the circumnavigation of the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

The latest phase of the project is to present Cook’s exploration of the east coast of Australia. The difference this time is that I intend to release the presentation at more frequent intervals, rather than waiting until I have modelled the entire leg of the journey.

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 blog I mentioned before 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.

As a sampler, here’s the arrival of Endeavour off the coast of Australia.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

(Screenshot courtesy of Google)

Written by netkingcol

January 10, 2012 at 11:00 am

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