Navigation – Vitus Bering
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When working on a Masters I took a class on early Alaskan History. I was fortunate to find a record of the daily noon sightings and at the time I was working with Lat-Long on AutoCAD. I plotted the entire trip and found a few strange entries. A few of the positions were impossible. We knew exactly where she was on several of these occasions. The ship was anchored in the bay of Kayak Island but on her 2nd day, the noon sighting placed her was 60 miles inland. On another occasion, the sighting showed the ship on the other side of the Aleutian Islands. The ship, St. Peter never went to the North of the Aleutians chain. I know that errors are common in sextant but when the ship is anchored a the same bay for 3 days and the 2nd sighting shows them 60 miles inland. but the 3rd one shows the correct location. Why would a captain record an obvious error?
Does anyone have any ideas?
The sextant was first trialled by Hadley in 1732, so I am far from sure that Bering used one. The potential errors with previous instruments could be huge.
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