26-Dec-2007 -- After my first visit to this confluence, 26N 80W five and a half years ago in heavy rain, I was extremely happy that this time I could finally make some shots which show Miami in a better shape.
We are steaming comfortably south along the coast of Florida, and since my last confluence, 27N 80W, almost five hours and 60 nautical miles have elapsed. As we know, one degree in latitude are 60 nautical miles, thus 1 minute equals to 1 nautical mile. 1 nautical mile is 10 CABLES, and 1 cable is divided into 100 FATHOMS. Finally 1 Fathom are 6 FEET. And needless to say and entirely logical: 1 mile per hour is a KNOT.
This makes nautical calculations very simple, as these dimensions are taken from the nature, and thank goodness we will never introduce such awkward dimensions like kilometres, and other metric and decimal stuff, which would bring us nowhere. When I am steaming with a speed of 12.7 knots, I do make 12.7 miles per hour, and not 23.5204 kilometres or whatever else they nowadays are calculating ashore with.
Nautical measures render confluencing very clear and simple. If my display gives a latitude of 25°59.996', then I know to be 4 fathoms away from the full degree (as 1000 fathoms are one nautical mile). People in metric countries must first perform quite an arithmetical job to learn that they are still 7,408 metres off.
Another example: If my display shows 25°59.900', then I am still a cable (185.2 metres) away, and this is almost exactly the length of my ship. So if my ship's bow touches the Confluence, and I am on the navigating bridge with my GPS, I still have to go one cable further. And when I am steaming with 12.7 knots, i.e. 12.7 miles per hour, then I am of proceeding with 127 cables per hour, and this divided by 60 equals roughly to 2 cables per minute. So for this one cable I do have still 30 seconds time to switch on my camera and to move towards the GPS machine.
Picture you had to do this with kilometres! You won't arrive anywhere, ... or at least too late, as calculation with metric and decimal measures are extremely complicated and time consuming.
Well, but all this does not have much to do with Miami, lets see what is around here:
To the SW we see Miami, and let's have a closer look to it,
To the West we see Hollywood and Port Everglades, and
To the NW we can make out Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton.
As the Florida Current (which later in the Atlantic will become that what is known to everybody as the Gulf Stream, is setting towards north, our speed is not too good. It will, however, improve after having cleared Key West in the coming night. I expect to arrive at the SW Pass of the Mississippi River on 28 December early p.m. Then we will steam upriver for about 11 hours until New Orleans, where our cargo is ready. We are going to load 20,000 tons of yellow corn, 7,000 tons of soybeans and 3,000 tons of DDG (Dried Distillery Grain) for two Colombian ports (Santa Marta and Cartagena).