particular interest to those of us who have 'crossed the line')
The passenger steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through
the waters of the mid-Pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia.
The navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought the
Master, Captain John Phillips, the result.
The ships position was LAT 0 S 31' N and LON 179 S 30' W. The date was
31 December 1899
“Know what this means?” First Mate Payton broke in, “We
are only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International
Captain Phillips was prankish enough to take full advantage of the opportunity
for achieving the navigational freak of a lifetime.
He called his navigators to the bridge to check and double check the
ships position. He changed course slightly so as to bear directly on
Then he adjusted the engine speed. The calm weather and clear night
worked in his favor.
midnight the Master ensured that the Warrimoo lay still on the equator
at exactly the point where it crossed the International Date Line!
The consequences of this bizarre position were many. The forward part
(bow) of the ship was in the Southern Hemisphere at the middle of summer.
The rear (stern) was in the Northern Hemisphere and in the middle of
winter. The date in the aft part of the ship was 31 December 1899. Forward
it was 1 January 1900.
This ship was therefore not only in two different days, two different
months, two different years, and two different seasons, but in two different
centuries, all at the same time!
by Adrian Brett