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    From: Michael Daly
    Date: 2007 Oct 31, 14:58 -0400

    Someone asked me to let readers of the list know who I am and a bit
    about my background.
    I live in Canada, in a town a short distance from Toronto.
    I have had an interest in scientific instruments for a long time and
    started taking it more seriously about 21 years ago.  I have quite a few
    books on the topic, as well as having read material in libraries -
    mostly periodicals on the history of science.  My main interests are in
    navigation, surveying and astronomy.  I would like to be able to collect
    antique instruments, mostly in navigation and surveying, but the price
    of these instruments is getting out of reach.
    I have one old octant, an ivory and ebony Spencer, Browning & Co. from
    around 1840 that I acquired at an auction about 15 years ago.  The other
    instruments I have, a Heath sextant, a surveyor's theodolite and level
    are relatively modern and I actually use them occasionally if only to
    show people how they work. (The theodolite I've used while checking out
    rural properties to buy a few years ago - never found one that wasn't
    either swamp or $$$$$$$).
    I learned basic sextant use in university as part of a land surveying
    course in civil engineering.  It was a nasty thing for them to do, as it
    only reinforced a bug that bit when I was a kid and dreamt of sailing
    around the world - that after an aunt gave me a gift of "Men, Ships and
    the Sea" and a world map (both National Geographic publications) around
    1961.  I learned the stars with quite a few years of amateur astronomy,
    but eye problems (mostly reduced averted vision) makes my deep-sky
    interests harder to do.
    My real experience in sailing (transferred later to canoeing and sea
    kayaking) has been in piloting, not navigation.  I've never been far
    enough offshore in a sailboat to require navigation.  Most has been on
    large lakes here in Canada, but I've also done a three-week trip from
    Norfolk, Virginia to Montreal, Quebec thirty years ago.  I was taking a
    sailboat back to Montreal for someone who wintered in the Caribbean.
    Unfortunately, no sextant use there, just chart and compass and
    occasional RDF.  I bought a GPS a decade ago but it sits in a drawer as
    I prefer to use chart and compass while sea kayaking (sailboats are too
    expensive as I can't bring myself to sail anything smaller than a 30'
    keelboat).  Part of my fun is in transferring skills and equipment
    learned on a sailboat's chart table to the small deck of a kayak -
    parallel rules replaced by homemade grids and string etc.  I've often
    thought that a pocket sextant would be a "useful" addition :-)
    Reading this list has sparked my interest in lunars.  If the clouds ever
    clear, I'll grab my sextant and head outside to fiddle with the method -
    and check out that comet while I'm at it.
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