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A Steamboat Time Warp Story

December 14 2016 | news


 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 & brought the master, Captain John Phillips, the result.

The Warrimoo's position was LAT 0º 31' N and LON 179 30' W

The date was 31 December 1899.

"Know what this means?" First Mate Payton broke in, "We're only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line".  
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 & double check the ships position.  He changed course slightly so as to bear directly on his mark.  Then he adjusted the engine speed. The calm weather & clear night worked in his favor.

At midnight the SS Warrimoo lay 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 & the middle of summer. 
The rear (stern) was in the Northern Hemisphere & 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 all at the same time in:  
two different days, 
two different months, 
two different years, 
two different seasons  
but in two different centuries.

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