A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Brian Walton
Date: 2022 Jan 16, 02:54 -0800
Luminescence and green flashes are frequent enough, and coconut sextants and following cuckoos are out. But not all birds are bad.
The first time I did the "milk run" from the Canaries to the West Indies, I noted that long-tailed Tropic Birds started to appear half way across. Frigate birds came in when we had about 50 to 100 miles to go; from 1,000' those guys can see their nest-sites at 30 miles.
The second time, skipper, with engine failure and no electrics, I could tell my young crew when we were half way, and also when to slow down at night because the eastern edges of many islands are unlit.
20 odd years ago I did a sail trip from Cape Town to Salvador (Brazil). I was the only one who could do CN, and kept a plot in case the electrics or satnav failed. One day I did morning stars, but had rather bad cuts. Then a big bird flew over. I had flown B747-400s for 8 years, and could see this one was the shortened extra-long-range version operated by the Springboks. Sure enough, on my conical chart, the GC from Joburg to São Paulo went straight through my cocked hat...