14-Jan-2005 -- Shortly after having bagged 36N 33E, we arrived at 36N 32E. Attentive readers of my narratives (are there any at all?) will realize that this GPS-picture differs from the ones I usually use at Sea.
It is our spare GPS, a "Simrad", recently installed due to a regulation that such essential equipment has to be on board in duplicate, in order to still be able to determine the ship's position in case of a breakdown of one machine.
So we have two GPS now, but usually we do not work with the new one. This one scrapes his living entirely as a wall-flower, and nobody of us pays attention to it, as long as the good old "Magnavox" is working. The "Simrad" seems awkward and more difficult to operate than the "Magnavox", and even to work with the old "Magnavox" took me at least four years to understand. I am not a computer enthusiast and I try to keep myself as far away as possible from all this electronic garbage.
Having a closer look today at the "Simrad", I realized for the first time that it has two features so far unknown to me:
- First it has a built-in miles counter, and I see that I have sailed with it already 32,514 nautical miles. This is almost twice around the world and now everybody understands my lack of enthusiasm that after such a long distance I do not even know how to switch it on or off, much less how to operate it. :-(
- The second feature is the FOUR figures after the decimal point. Wow! What a great achievement of modern human ingenuity!
Now I do know my ship's position even with an accuracy of a ten thousandth part of a nautical mile, i.e. 18,5 cm or just 7 inches! How did we manage in the old days to navigate and even to arrive at the correct ports when fixing our positions with the sextant? And how did we manage after a starless and sunless fortnight over the North Atlantic or North Pacific in winter? Sometimes we did no longer know our position not even with an accurancy of 500 miles and we did arrive everywhere happy and healthy and more or less in time.
Sometimes I believe times were better, then. I hate all this modern computer stuff with all its pertinent push-button-science and menues and submenues, and you loose yourself into a maze of windows and functions and double and triple function buttons. And in the worst case: whilst tinkering around with these bloody position fixing and anti-collision machines, you no longer look properly out of the window as it is good seamanlike practice. And subsequently you crash full power together with another ship!
This happens frequently. You read about collisions with both ships having the most modern and sophisiticated equipment and anti-collision devices on board available, and after it had happened, then everybody asks: How was that possible?! I know, how it was possible. Navigators are playing piano with these boxes and forget to keep a proper lookout. That's why it happened. It's always the same story.
Well, from this Confluence I can submit just the view to North and the one to Northeast. Not much can be seen except mountains, and I hope to revisit this point again in better conditions.
As we have left the Turkish territorial waters, we could strike the Turkish courtesy flag from the signal mast. On navy ships this is the job of a specially skilled and appointed crewman, but on cargo ships all such fancywork is left to the Captain, who does the job free of charge - or at least without claiming additional payment. :-(