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    Mid XIX century Nav
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2005 Nov 14, 19:36 -0500

    I am reading a book by a famous Russian XiX century
    author, Goncharov, on his voyage to Japan in 1853/4.
    (The Russians were trying to "open" Japan for trade
    at that time, the same thing did the Americans (at exactly the same time).
    Japan was "closed to foreigners"; no one could land
    etc. I don't want to describe all details.
    Anyway, the Russians were negotiating with the Japanese
    authorities for a permission to land. The following episode
    in this long and complicated negotiation, which lasted several
    months, attracted my attention. The Russians asked for a
    permission to land on some rock between their ship place
    and the land. Apparently a small uninhabited island.
    The reason they clamed for this permission was the
    "Necessity to check chronometers".
    Apparently they thought that this was a good reason
    for landing on a rock).
    Unfortunately the author of the book was not interested
    in navigation and did not want to explain to the readers
    this point. WHY did the Russians think that this was a
    legitimate reason?
    Why exactly did they need land to check their chronometers?
    Or, more precisely, why did they think that "checking chronometers"
    is a legitimate reason for a landing?
    What was the proper procedure of "checking chronometers" they had in mind?
    Was this by the Lunars?
    Did they mean that a firm ground
    is needed for the Lunars? Or Jupiter satellites? to install a powerful
    (They were at ancor in the Nagasaki harbor at that time. Nagasaki
    was one of the few cities where foreigners were permitted to stay on ancor
    at that time). To finish this part of the story I just say that they were
    not permitted. The Japanese quickly built some structure on the rock,
    as an evidence that this rock was "land", rather than some "rock in the
    or "uninhabited (and unclaimed?) island" where anyone can land. Before
    to Nagasaki, the Russians signed the paper that they will not land without
    the permission of the authorities.)
    But I only wanted to discuss the CelNav part of the story.
    Why did the Russians think that "checking chronometers" was a legitimate
    purpose of landing on a rock?
    P.S. I am well aware that the first underwater transoceanic cable layings
    were made at about the same time. So the Lunars were doomed, already then,
    even as a
    of checking chronometers:-(

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