The passenger steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the water of the mid-pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia. The navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought Captain John DS. Phillips the result. The Warrimoo’s position was LAT 0* 31’ N and LONG 179 30’ W. the date was the 31st December 1899.
“Know what this means?”. First Mate Payton broke in, “were 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 and 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 and clear night worked in his favour. At mid-night 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:
This ship was therefore not only in: Two different days, two different months, two different years, two different seasons & in two different centuries at the same time.…