• close family • small boat • big world •

Kamals, Back-Staffs, and Octants, Oh My!

March 31, 2016

by Nicole
At anchor, French Lagoon, St. Martin

Do you think you could use a pointed, marked stick to navigate your boat? Well, the Vikings did. For art and history, I made a booklet about the different nautical devices throughout history, and I wanted to share it with you. Navigating is much easier these days with GPS, but before it was invented, navigating was much harder.

As I explained in a previous post, one of the earliest navigation devices was the compass. However, the compass is only used to know which direction you are pointing, not where you are. All the devices in my project were used to determine the latitude of one's current location.

The early navigation tools most sailors used were pretty primitive, sometimes nothing more than a marked stick. Through the ages, these devices have grown more complex, which makes them more accurate and effective. Now, we have leaped ahead with GPS that uses modern technology. We are very lucky we have modern devices that make navigation much easier, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not hard.

So this is the booklet I made below. I did all the drawings and text. Check it out!