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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part One: The Atlantic Ocean

Thursday, September 6 - Reykjavik to Myggenes

Reykjavik to Myggenes Everything looked clear ahead, and at Portland we laid a course for the Faroe Islands. As I look back on it and consider the small size of the target we were aiming for, (80 miles across) I wish that we had continued on the Iceland coast to Ingolfshofdi, which would have given us 85 miles less over the open sea. We were too confident of our navigating ability, and not only did I fail to request sun azimuth bearings from Bob, but he carelessly made an error of ten degrees in reading the course angle with the protractor, so that when we had reached a point 200 miles away from Iceland he announced, considerably agitated, that he had discovered this error and that we should be, in fact, 40 miles south of the straight line to the Faroes. I immediately requested a change of course from this estimated position to the central portion of the Faroe Islands; we had been steering 114° true and the new course was 87° true, which we took up at once.

Within a very few minutes I sighted a steamship bound westward. With such uncertainty in our calculations it became essential to learn his bearings, and I circled and dove across the bow of the ship two or three times until they answered Bob's call, and then I started off again on the course of 87° while he carried on his communication. It took about 15 minutes for the S.S. Islande to report their position in latitude and longitude; they first said 90 miles from Myggenes, but we were unacquainted with this island, so asked for true position. When it was given, we both were surprised to find that the ship was on the direct course between Portland and Thorshavn. We held a hasty conference. Bob was certain that this time he had made no mistake in our position and that the steamship must be in error. I split the difference and assumed that we were half way between the steamship reported position and our calculated spot, and set a course from this spot. If a course were drawn from this midposition to the middle of the islands, it could not possibly miss them regardless of whether the steamship's mate or Bob were in the right.

We called off radio for the day and Robert went aloft to work out a few sextant sights, and I was feeling just ornery enough to let him slave away at the solution long after I saw the islands looming ahead. The steamship, of course, was right and Bob's error (which had been partly compensated by our previous change in course) had been further met by the now significant deviations of the magnetic compass, which must amount to 8 or 10 degrees.

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