A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Smith
Date: 2016 Sep 27, 16:09 -0700
The following article was recently posted on the website of the Royal New Zealand Navy Communicators' Association website - https://rnzncomms.org/2016/09/22/ss-warrimoo/.
The story is probably apocraphal, most likely inaccurate and would be more suitable for 'Ripley's Believe it on Not' than the NavList pages!
Please do not treat this story too seriously.
The passenger steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the waters of the mid-Pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia. The navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought to the master,
Captain John Phillips, the result. The Warrimoo’s position was LAT zero degrees thirty-one minutes North and LONG one-seven-nine degrees thirty minutes West.
The date was 31 December 1899.
“Know what this means?” First Mate Payton broke in - “We are only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line” .
Captain Phillips was prankish enough to take full advantage of the opportunity for achieving the navigational freak of a lifetime. He called his navigators to the bridge to check double check the ships position.
He changed course slightly so as to bear directly on his mark. Then he adjusted the engine speed.
The calm weather & clear night worked in his favour.
At midnight the SS Warrimoo lay on the Equator at exactly the point where it crossed the International Date Line!
The consequences of this bizarre position were many.
The forward part of the ship was in the Southern Hemisphere and the middle of summer. Whereas the stern of the ship was in the Northern Hemisphere and in the middle of winter.
The date in the aft part of the ship was 31 December 1899 but forward it was 1 January 1900.
This ship was therefore not only in two different days, two different months, two different years, and two different seasons and in two different centuries - all at the same time!