When one is at sea in a small ship, the oceans seem endless in size and, during storms, relentless in fury. They are also very lonely. During a voyage from Kure in Japan to Dreeger on the north coast of New Guinea, some 3,000 miles, we met only one ship. It was travelling from Guam to Manila, at right angles to our route, and we had to change course to avoid a collision. I do not recall passing more than one ship between Dreeger and Sydney, Australia via the China Straits and the Coral Sea. Though the West Indies seem to form an almost continuous chain on the charts, from the Abacos in the Bahamas to Trinidad within sight of Venezuela, the distance of travel is about 3,000 miles, whether you go through the Providence Channels past Nassau and south to Barbuda, through the Old Bahama Channel past Great Inagua and Cuba or through Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico. Even in this area, you might only pass a cruise ship or a freighter or two. Unless you are in the steamer lanes, and research ships tend to dodge these lanes, you are very much on your own. Research ships dodge the trade routes because they are hove to much of the time, and in rain squalls or fog, radar notwithstanding, are vulnerable to collisions.
KeywordsResearch Ship North Coast Dead Reckoning Cruise Ship Small Ship
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