Caribbean post 4: Navigation

One of the most important aspects to my recent trip to the British Virgin Islands was navigation.  It was an interesting and important process to determine the direction and distance we needed to travel.  Four different tools were used to navigate, charts, parallel rules, dividers, and of course.

The most important tool was the Chart.  The chart is a map that shows the islands themselves, and the hazards that could hinder us, like shallow water and rocks.  It is on the chart that I mark out the path that I drew with the parallel rules as a straightedge including details like direction and distance.  Which I found using other tools.

To find the direction I used parallel rules.  This tool is a pair of plastic straightedges that are attached together with metal rods so that when you move them apart from each other, they will remain parallel.  To find the direction to head, I lined up the path I drew on the chart with one of the straightedges, with the other lined up with one of the compasses on the map.  The compass is labeled with numbers 1 through 360 going around it, so that East is 90º, South is 180º, and so on. The number that the other side of the parallel rules lines up with is the direction.

Dividers are the tools used to determine the distance to travel before making a turn.  And repeat the cycle with the parallel rules.  Dividers work similarly to scissors, as they open and close, but stay the same distance apart when the tool is picked up.   Measure the distance of the leg you are about to travel on, and place the divider on the distance scale.  This is measured to nautical miles unless it says differently.

Navigation was a vital part in my family’s vacation, because it was essential to find our way around.