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    Correction on lunars count for CWM
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2003 Dec 18, 15:12 EST
    Last week I wrote:
    "While I'm here, I can elaborate a bit on one of those logs. The first mate's
    (?) log from the maiden voyage of Mystic Seaport's whaleship, the Charles W.
    Morgan, has miraculously survived. The ship left New Bedford in September of
    1841 and returned home when the barrels were full of oil in January of 1845.
    This was a typical length for a whaling voyage in mid-century. She spent most of
    this time in the Pacific and made port every few months in Peru or California.
    The vessel also stopped a number of times in the Galapagos to pick up the
    ingredients for turtle soup. In those 39 long months, there is one "longitude by
    lunars". The rest are "by chrono". But there are a couple of terse references
    to officers "working lunars" which make it clear that the ship's navigators
    were aware that they needed to keep in practice. This level of usage is about
    what you would expect: c.1840 is often cited as the time period when lunars had
    become decidedly secondary in navigation. "

    I was *wrong* about the count of lunars being "only one". Right after I posted this message, I started having doubts since I had personally verified only a few months of the log and the rest was hearsay. Fortunately, the log of the Charles W. Morgan has been digitized recently and it is now available in the online library at Mystic Seaport's web site (http://www.mysticseaport.org/library/initiative/FunderList.cfm?FundingAgent=Andrew%20W.%20Mellon%20Foundation).

    There are 22 longitudes by lunar in that log in the period from Sep. 6, 1841 to Jan. 2, 1845. Here's a complete list of lunars/luners with the dates if you want to take a look at them yourself. Notice the clustering in certain periods when someone aboard must have taken a special interest in the technique. These periods are usually separated by gaps of four to six months when no lunars were taken at all.

    1841/11/17
    1841/11/21

    1842/04/16
    1842/05/15
    1842/07/11

    1843/01/06
    1843/01/08 (being worked, no lon)
    1843/01/23
    1843/01/24
    1843/05/04 (being worked, no lon)
    1843/12/15
    1843/12/16
    1843/12/17

    1844/01/14
    1844/03/10
    1844/03/12
    1844/03/26
    1844/03/28
    1844/08/04
    1844/10/03
    1844/10/07
    1844/10/20
    1844/12/13
    1844/12/14

    There are also a number of other logbooks from other vessels which they've digitized recently, and they include some really fascinating navigational details. You could explore for years!

    Frank E. Reed
    [X] Mystic, Connecticut
    [ ] Chicago, Illinois

       
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