Merry jest of guesswork

“Navigation is an art, but words fail to give my efforts a correct name. Dead reckoning or DR—the seaman’s calculation of courses and distance—had become a merry jest of guesswork… The procedure was: I peered out from our burrow—precious sextant cuddled under my chest to prevent seas falling on it. Sir Ernest stood by under the canvas with chronometer pencil and book. I shouted “Stand by,” and knelt on the thwart—two men holding me up on either side. I brought the sun down to where the horizon ought to be and as the boat leaped frantically upward on the crest of a wave, snapped a good guess at the altitude and yelled, “Stop,” Sir Ernest took the time, and I worked out the result… My navigation books had to be opened page by page till the right one was reached, then opened carefully to prevent utter destruction.”

— Frank Worsley

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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