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Gold, Glory, and — HYDRO!

Gold, Glory, and — HYDRO!

This month marks the 555th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry of Portugal, known as the Navigator, on 13 November 1460. Henry had set in motion a series of events that led to...

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Unravelling the Ridge and Rift

Unravelling the Ridge and Rift

Following Maurice Ewing’s first cruise to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, two more were made by the end of the 1940s. The first of these was led by Ewing while the second was led by...

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The Siboga Expedition

The Siboga Expedition

The Indonesian archipelago is one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos. Home to over 17,000 islands, mountains rising to over 5,000 metres, including over 70 historical...

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History Selection

'As it Was'

'As it Was'

Matthew Fontaine Maury is probably the best known of all hydrographers, and the most celebrated both in his homeland, the United States of America, and in Europe. He served for 18...

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Heaven Descended to Earth

Heaven Descended to Earth

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, France, like every other nation, regarded shipwrecks as an inevitable downside of maritime life. There were fewer than 20 lighthouses dotting...

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New York Harbour

New York Harbour

The greatest of the Coast Survey mid-nineteenth century harbour studies was that of New York Harbour. In 1855, the Commissioners on Harbor Encroachments of New York requested that...

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A Lucky Ship – A Lucky Man

A Lucky Ship – A Lucky Man

On 3 December 1941, the US Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS) Ship Explorer was conducting operations northeast of Midway Island in the central Pacific Ocean. Approximately 800 m...

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What’s in a Name? Part 2 - Vidal

What’s in a Name? Part 2 - Vidal

Part 1 dealt with HMS Owen and the redoubtable nineteenth century hydrographer and explorer after whom she had been named. That Summer of 1953 the second of the two British surveyi...

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Seeking a Rift

Seeking a Rift

In 1953, Hans Pettersson published Westward Ho with the Albatross, a popular account of his around-the-world scientific cruise on the Swedish sailing ship Albatross. In it he state...

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As it Was

As it Was

Olaus Magnus, a Swedish Catholic priest, had for some years been employed collecting funds for the Church in the far north. During his extensive travels he made copious notes and s...

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As it Was

As it Was

In the aftermath of the First World War Germany was made to deliver most of its warships to the allies. The gunboat Meteor, lying at a yard in Gdansk (Danzig), was excused under th...

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History Selection

Challenger: the Life of a Survey Ship

Challenger: the Life of a Survey Ship

With this publication, the author – George Stephen Ritchie, founder and first editor of this column – marked himself as a noted maritime historian and, particularly, a...

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Portland Harbour

Portland Harbour

A progressive spirit was awakening in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. This movement was notable for emphasis on education reform, prison reform, women’s suff...

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‘As it Was’

‘As it Was’

The long history of the charting of the waters off the west coast of Ireland, including Galway Bay, began in the 16th century. It may be said to be culminating with the current Nat...

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The Dutch Way of Measuring Depths

The Dutch Way of Measuring Depths

Once upon a time there was no satnav, multibeam sonar or a computer to handle a survey system. Hydrographic surveying was done ‘by hand’ with instruments long forgotten...

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'As it Was'

'As it Was'

Sir Robert Dudley was born in 1574 but his birth was kept secret from Queen Elizabeth, for she would have been enraged had she heard that her favourite courtier, the Earl of Leices...

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Introducing Capt. Skip Theberge

Introducing Capt. Skip Theberge

Although this is my second effort at contributing to the History column, I would like to use this issue’s column to introduce myself to the readership of Hydrointernational....

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History Selection

An Early Search for Vigias

An Early Search for Vigias

In the era before the global positioning system and other reliable navigation aids, many imaginary and sometimes real features whose positions were grossly in error were found on c...

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Alaska – The Wild Coast

Alaska – The Wild Coast

At the turn of the century, the West Coast fleet of the Coast and Geodetic Survey was comprised of a mélange of ships, some of which were not retired until they were nearly...

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‘As it Was’

‘As it Was’

At my interview for a job at Canadian Hydrographic Service, I had to answer all the usual sort of questions posed to me by two very formidable men. Finally, the time came to speak...

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'As it Was'

'As it Was'

The late Professor Taylor, a former Registrar General for Scotland, whilst researching the Balfour Collection of documents at the National Library of Scotland, came across a set of...

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Collision at Sea

Collision at Sea

On 20 June 1860, the iron-hulled United States Coast Survey Steamer Robert J. Walker was proceeding to New York City, its home port. The ship, under the command of Navy Lieutenant...

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'As it Was'

'As it Was'

Until the abolition of the Indian Navy in 1862 surveys of Indian and eastern waters were carried out by officers of the Bombay Marine and later by the Indian Navy. At first these s...

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'As it Was'

'As it Was'

The history of charting the estuary of a navigable river to enable shipping to safely enter port is inevitably long and continuing as the channels, and the shoals which confine the...

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