Time and Weather

Early seafarers carried crude instruments to measure latitude. Longitude took much longer. The 18th C. heralded the arrival of the first ship’s chronometer, relatively exact, and it suddenly became a lot less risky to sail the world’s oceans. Imagine sailing across the Indian Ocean in an ancient square rigger. Taking off from Cape of Good Hope and heading towards Australia, (at that time New Holland). It was customary to pick up a trade wind from there to head out North to the Spice Islands and China. But if the captain had made a predictable error in reckoning the ship’s position, and the lookout fell asleep, the ship might well end up on Australia’s West Coast coral reefs, now a source of untold treasures and buried cargo.

Another instrument was the weather-glass and its cousin the ship’s barometer. Suddenly falling air pressure predicted rough weather ahead. High pressure meant fair and sunny weather and probably good sailing.

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~ by authenticmodels on October 13, 2011.

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