Sea Stories

In the days before quartz crystal clocks one of my jobs as third mate of an ocean going tramp was time officer. Whenever the old man decided to flog the clocks for a new time zone I had to go around and alter the hands of every clock in the ship except the chronometer, which was kept in a locked cabinet on the bridge. Only the captain and I had a key. The chronometer was my responsibility. I had to wind it every day with seven turns of the key after receiving a radio time signal at noon Greenwich Mean Time. I recorded any difference from GMT in a book called the rate book and analysed the rate at which it was gaining or losing time. The rate could vary depending on variations in temperature as the ship steamed northwards or southwards. The first circumnavigation of the world is arguably the most significant event in human history. It marks Europe's emergence from the Dark Ages. Its commemoration will be celebrated all over the world in the years 2019 to 2022. Magellan was born Portuguese and sailed under the Spanish flag for which he was vilified on both sides but now he belongs to the whole world.This website is also dedicated to Antonio Pigafetta who wrote a remarkable memoir of the remarkable event and to all the sailors since who have ventured into the unknown guided by the stars and driven by destiny

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Tales from the sea