Thursday, 30 July 2015

Reykjavik Maritime Museum

Continuing my world exploration of Maritime Museums, today I had the opportunity to visit the Reykjavik Maritime Museum here in Iceland.  This is the most northerly establishment I've visited.
It is sited at the Old Harbour which I hardly explored today.
However, with groovy seats like this, made from propellor blades,
and the Icelandic humour...
...I'm looking forward to seeing more in the next few days.

Maritime Museums have themes related to their sea history.  For example, the Brazilian (Rio de Janeiro) museum focuses much on their war of independence with the Portuguese; Denmark alternates between their run-ins with the Swedes and international maritime trade (think Maersk).  The Dutch one majors on colonisation.  And the British variant wistfully looks at the days when "the sun never set on the Empire" and also is big on naval protection during the World Wars.
Iceland's theme is fishing.
They do an awful lot of it.
Interestingly I read today that this maritime industry only took off when over 80% of their sheep died after a volcanic eruption and they had to look elsewhere for food/livelihood.  However, the Icelandic Fisheries only states that a change in climate meant agriculture was less viable.  Well, I'd say a volcanic eruption could be quite environmentally changing especially if the ash permeates the soil.

After being pretty sated by tales of fishermen and women, I found a familiar display.
Like many parts of the world, Iceland has its fair share of sea accidents.  I suspect a pretty strong fetch up across the Atlantic isn't going to help neither will the harsh Arctic weather.  This map shows the numbers and types of incidents of ships over 12 tonnes between 1928 and 1937.
Quite a graphical image don't you think?  Their cartographical rule of pinning the end of the boat to the rock it hit has given quite a realistic view of ships aground.

I came across a pelorus which I don't recall coming across before.
It was used to measure bearings at sea between prominent shore marks and also astronomical bodies.  It is gimballed: you may be able to see the weight under the disc.
I checked it still worked ("not sure you should be touching the displays Ruth," muttered my husband).  I live a risky life....

This is a replica of Konrad Gislason's "Konni the Compass" workshop.  He adjusted, repaired and maintained compasses for 6 decades and was renowned in the Icelandic maritime industry.
I was amused to see this book on the shelf.
I suspect that's not everyone's idea of bliss.

Now I think about bliss - with my geo-tinted glasses on - at a tad over 64°N I'm at the most northerly point I've ever been.    And, to keep the theme going, I'm actually the nearest I've ever been to a geographical pole.  When I travelled south in 1995 I only just skimmed past 60°S.  Golly.  I'm going to have to sit down (it must be the thin air up here) this is too much excitement for one day.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Zero Longitude - Zero Latitude

In the last couple of weeks I have managed to cross both the Greenwich Meridian and the Equator.  Sadly not at the same time.

I've straddled the Greenwich Meridian many times, most recently on 27 June in London.
15 06 27 London Greenwich and Pride (5)
I do so love this London view.
15 06 27 London Greenwich and Pride (6)
The last week I was in Uganda and was very much hoping I'd get the opportunity to visit the Equator, having only ever flown over it before which I consider "not doing it properly".  I suppose it's like saying you've visited Mongolia because you flew over it once.  Anyway, I thought my chances were slim when our itinerary took us to an island in Lake Victoria for a few days limiting any opportunity to wander off to bag the Equator for real.

Time was tight for our journey and we had driven straight from our meetings in Kampala.  Never before have I been so inappropriately dressed for a sea journey.
15 07 15 Boat
The sea was pretty choppy (up to Sea State 3) due to strong winds which meant we had to hang on.  My work clothes soaked up the spray quite nicely ;-)
15 07 15 Boat too
As we were travelling my colleague decided to check our latitude.  It was then that we realised we may actually be in the boat long enough to cross the line.

Oooh - we're going to make it!
15 07 15 Boat north of equator
YES - equator crossed. A happy geomatician indeed.
15 07 15 Boat south of equator
Indeed, Bulago Island.  Nearly 02' south of the Equator.
Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 17.13.29
On our journey back we'd briefed our skipper to stop at the Equator so we could bag it 'properly'.
15 07 16_2 Return to Entebbe (2)
This was as close as we got with the boat's Garmin (lat/long in bottom right hand corner) but I don't think there is need for any further evidence that I've crossed the equator twice.
15 07 16_2 Return to Entebbe (4)
The sea was a lot calmer (Sea State 1) so far easier to get the Ruth-on-equator photo shoot.
15 07 16 Boat back
The problem with these trips is that each time I cross something off my geo to-do list the next challenge appears on the horizon.  So guess what I now fancy doing?  Yup - visiting where the Equator and the Greenwich (or rather, Prime) Meridian cross.  Think I'll need a bigger boat for that.
Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 17.21.39

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Kindred Spirits

Earlier this month I received an unsolicited email from a name I didn't recognise.  He sent me photos of a long range lamp he'd purchased at an Army and Navy store in Oxford a few years ago.
20150701 Army and Navy lamp
20150701 Army and Navy lamp 2
I thanked him and asked how he came by me.  It appears that Morgan Ford has stumbled across my blog and decided I'd appreciate the images.  I do indeed.

It turns out that Morgan is a bit of a trig spotter too.  One of his hobbies, apart from buying survey equipment, is locating  National Geodetic Survey and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey markers.  And he sent me a photo of a U.S. survey marker near San Francisco, CA.
How wonderful - more arm chair bagging.  Thank you Morgan!