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    The lost expedition of La Perouse
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2005 Jun 8, 00:44 EDT

    The French once upon a time had a claim to Australia following the
    explorations of Jean-Francois de Galaud, Comte de La Perouse in the 1780s, but  his
    expedition was lost near the Solomons in 1788 and for 200 years there was no
    certainty what had become of his ships, although two wrecks were believed  to be
    "probably" those of La Perouse's expedition. Last month, a team  of French
    researchers found the "smoking gun" in the debris on the  seafloor.
    The two frigates in the expedition of La Perouse were named 'The  Compass'
    (La Boussole) and 'The Astrolabe' (L'Astrolabe) so it seems rather  fitting that
    another navigational instrument, a sextant, was the key to  identifying the
    Quoting cnn.com:
    "Last week, a sextant -- an instrument used by navigators to measure the
    angular distance of the sun from the horizon -- with the inscription "Mercier"
    was found near "the fault" [a reef location].
    The Solomons Association said  the recovery of the instrument had allowed
    them to identify the ship, as  documents indicate that La Perouse had a sextant
    aboard La Boussole that was  made by "Master Mercier"."
    42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N  72.1W.

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