1606: An Epic Adventure

Posted on December 20, 2011 by Jack Kelly
Tags: readings

I’ve been keeping up with my reading, but I’ve been slack in writing about it. Most recently, I have read 1606: An Epic Adventure. I don’t care for the overuse of epic but crossing an ocean qualifies, even by Maddox’s standards.

From the title, I expected the book to detail the Duyfken’s voyage to Australia, relying on ship’s logs and journals. In actual fact, it’s a history of the charting of Australia, starting from Duyfken’s voyage and finishing with Flinders’ circumnavigation.

The book’s fairly well-written and has quite a few amusing moments. One captain covers up his mistake by shifting Australia 1000 nautical miles west on the charts. He got away with this because while measuring latitude was fairly accurate, measuring longitude required accurate timekeeping.

I’m no student of maritime history, but I still enjoyed the read. It’s accessible, relevant and entertaining. There’s a section that talks about the French exploration in Tasmania, and it was especially enjoyable to read about Recherche Bay, Storm Bay, Adventure Bay and so on having sailed across Storm Bay and anchored in Adventure Bay and Recherche Bay.

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