Freak of Navigation

Freak of Navigation 

The passenger steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the waters of the mid-pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia. The navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought the result to the Master. Captain John Philips. 

The Warrimoo’s position was Lat 0. Degrees 31’ N and Lon 179 degrees 30’ W. The date was 30 December 1899.

“Know what this means ?” First Mate Payton broke in. “We’re only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line”.

Captain Philips was prankish enough to take full advantage of the opportunity for achieving the navigational freak of a lifetime. He called his navigators to the bridge to check and double check the ship’s position. He changed course slightly so as to bear directly on his mark. Then he adjusted the engine speed.

The calm weather and clear night worked in his favour. At midnight the SS Warimoo lay in the Equator at exactly the point where it crosses the date line.

The consequences of this bizarre position were several.

What are they?? 

The bow of the ship was in the Southern Hemisphere, and the middle of summer.

The stern of the ship was in the Northern Hemisphere and in the middle of winter

The date in the aft part of the ship was 31st December 1899

In the bow of the ship the date was 1 January 1900

The ship was therefore not only in two different days, two, different months, two different years and two different seasons, but in two different centuries- all, at the same time. 

From Bill Black by email.