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    Re: Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury
    From: Jackson McDonald
    Date: 2014 Feb 7, 07:07 -0500
    Maury's compilation of data from ships' logs resulted in pilot charts, the large-scale, month-by-month charts for each major ocean basin.  Pilot charts remain a critical source of information for planning ocean passages.

    Since Maury's day, however, the average winds, currents, and wave heights for each month of the year have slowly evolved  --- some would argue due to climate change, others would argue due to better data, still others would argue due to both factors -- thereby necessitating updates to pilot charts, in both printed and electronic form.


    On Feb 6, 2014, at 19:27, "Sean C" <yhshuh---.com> wrote:


    I live a stone's throw from Lake Maury. It's part of the grounds of the Mariner's Museum, a great place to visit if you're ever in Hampton Roads. I was just out on my porch thinking about direction and I began to wonder just whom the lake was named after. (And why I hadn't before. Lol)

    Turns out that's a very interesting story. The lake is named after Matthew Fontaine Maury, the "Pathfinder of the Seas" and "Father of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology". The "Lake" is actually a man-made reservoir created and named by the Museum's founder, Archer Milton Huntington, son of Collis P. Huntington. The latter being the founder of Newport News.

    The Wikipedia page on Maury had this to say:

    "In 1825 at age 19, Maury joined the United States Navy as a midshipman on board the frigate USS Brandywine. Almost immediately he began to study the seas and record methods of navigation. When a leg injury left him unfit for sea duty, Maury devoted his time to the study of navigation, meteorology, winds, and currents. He became Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory and head of the Depot of Charts and Instruments. Here, Maury studied thousands of ships' logs and charts. He published the Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic, which showed sailors how to use the ocean's currents and winds to their advantage and drastically reduced the length of ocean voyages. Maury's uniform system of recording oceanographic data was adopted by navies and merchant marines around the world and was used to develop charts for all the major trade routes."

    Were he alive today, I believe Commander Maury would be posting on NavList. :)

    As a side note: The continued development of the Newport News area started by Collis Huntington is what brought my mother's family here. My grandfather was an electrician who moved here to work on the Amoco Oil Refinery, among other things.

    Anyway, I thought it was mildly interesting.

    Regards,
    Sean C.
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