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    Re: Emergency navigation
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2007 Sep 21, 14:07 +0100

    Henry Halboth asked-
    
    "The subject of emergency navigation has several times come up in recent
    posts. I have long wondered if, by chance, anyone has any knowledge of the
    navigation performed by William Bligh after having been set adrift by the
    HMS Bounty mutineers. This was, after all one of the more famous historical
    small boat voyages. Is there any record of a journal having been kept
    detailing the navigation performed?"
    
    Yes, a transcript of Bligh's log from that remarkable voyage to Timor in
    Bounty's launch has been printed in "Bligh and the Bounty", ed. Laurence
    Irving, 1936, and perhaps elsewhere, more recently.
    
    The mutiny occurred in 1789, in the Tonga group of islands, over 2000 miles
    East of the Australian continent. Bligh decided to aim for the Dutch colony
    of Timor, the nearest European settlement downwind. The alternative of
    heading for the new convict settlement of Sydney might have been available,
    but Bligh had left England in 1787, and the first fleet didn't arrive in
    Sydney until 1788, so he wouldn't have known about it.
    
    Bligh had not been through that passage North of Queensland (or "New
    Holland") before, which he called Endeavour Straits (named  after Cook's
    first voyage) ,and which we know as Torres Strait. He had no chart; just in
    his mind the intended passage that way, in Bounty, now frustrated. He had a
    quadrant (= Hadley octant) and a compass, but without a chart they would be
    of limited use. His journal records precise latitudes, but his longitudes
    were by dead reckoning.
    
    Just after the mutiny, Bligh stopped at the Island of Tofua, where one of
    the crew was killed by natives;. That was the only death, from 19 on board,
    in the 41-day voyage, of 3,618 miles as measured with their improvised
    log-line. After that, he avoided landing in other Pacific Island groups that
    were passed. It was latitude sailing, really. Bligh aimed for a latitude in
    which he knew he would reach Queensland, if he could pass the Barrier Reef.
    Then, after island-hopping around the North tip of Queensland, living mainly
    on shellfish, he knew he would be in the right latitude to reach Timor. It
    was a great feat of chart-memory.
    
    What is so remarkable is that Bligh produced chart information that became
    useful to mariners and geographers, collected from his observations,
    carefully recorded over that hazardous voyage.
    
    George.
    
    contact George Huxtable at george---.u-net.com
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    
    
    
    
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