'one in a lifetime chance'.
steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the waters of
the mid-Pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia. The
navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought the
master, Captain John Phillips, the result. The Warrimoo's position
was LAT 0º 31' N and LON 179 30' W. The date was 31 December
"Know what this means?" First Mate
Payton broke in, "We're 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.
his navigators to the bridge to check & 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 & clear night worked in his favor.
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:
The bow of the ship was in the Southern
Hemisphere & in the middle of summer. The stern was in the
Northern Hemisphere & in the middle of winter.
The date in the aft part of the ship was
31 December 1899. In the bow (forward) part it was 1 January
This ship was therefore not only in two
different days, two different months, two different years, and two
different seasons, but it was also in two different centuries -
all at the same time.