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    Re: Camel-train Navigation.
    From: Kieran Kelly
    Date: 2003 Nov 5, 19:06 +1100

    Thank you for the review of my book "Tanami". List members may be interested
    that the navigational  equipment carried included a Freiberger Yachting
    Sextant which I purchased for the trip. I own several Plaths but they are
    too heavy and take up too much space on a trip like this. The Freiberger
    weighed only 860 grams.
    It proved to be an inspired choice. The Yachting model is aluminium and
    small (not to be confused with the full sized Freiberger sextant which has a
    drum arrangement on the micrometer.) Interestingly Plath marketed a yachting
    sextant in its heyday, small and light but unsuitable for terrestrial
    navigation as it only reads to 90dd and is therefore an octant. In Australia
    the sun is too high most of the year to much such an instrument practicable.
    The Freiberger does not have a telescope but rather a 2.4x magnification
    eyepiece which gives excellent service as the magnification is not too
    great. Also the eyepiece can be unscrewed and the body viewed through the
    eyepiece retaining ring, a great benefit when using an artificial horizon.
    This is an excellent feature for terrestrial navigation and I am surprised
    that the other makers such as Plath did not persevere with it.
    I used several techniques on the crossing including observations of the sun
    over several hours to get a three position-line fix albeit using only one
    body, also double altitude shots of the sun at noon for longitude and
    maximum altitude sun sights for latitude.
    The sextant gave excellent performance and I was able to fix the position of
    Mt Leichhardt in the eastern Tanami Desert to about 1 nautical mile.
    Possibly most surprising is that the sextant had an index error of 0dd when
    it arrived from the factory in Germany and despite being packed on a camel
    saddle for 732km had the same index error when we finished. I found this
    almost impossible to believe as on previous expeditions using pack horses I
    found the index error varied every time I used the sextant. The sextant in
    this expedition was extremely well padded being carried in a camel pannier-
    a strong plastic box - shielded by packets of dried food. We chose the
    quietest camel for the sensitive gear such as the sextant and the EPIRBS. We
    also carried a Dolland Artificial Horizon c 1850 in its original box with
    glass cloche cover and the glass was unbroken at journey's end. The motion
    of the camel is rhythmic and unhurried and certainly these animals are
    capable of carrying sensitive  gear long distances. Both mercury and water
    were used to establish the horizon but I would be reluctant to take mercury
    again due to its weight.
    If anyone would like to read the full account they can purchase the book
    from Dymocks bookstore in Sydney. Their contact is http://www.dymocks.com.au
    Be warned it has a strong Australian bent and you would have to like reading
    about deserts.
    Kieran Kelly
    6 David Place
    Seaforth 2092
    ph     612 99079610
    fax    612 99078232
    mob  0411 261607
    e mail kkelly@bigpond.net.au 
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