Sunday, November 13, 2016

Response from a Reader: Sailing into the Atlantic – Part I

A reader sent in a comment from a friend of his regarding some of the postings we had done about sailing off the Arabian coast and into the Indian Ocean, asking for our response. However, the answer took far more than a quick comment in our comment section, so we are answering it with a full article.    
   Comment: The land you claim that is your land of promise will not be known as a land of liberty. The currents guiding the ship east don't actually exist. Nephi left right after harvest season when they harvested and piled all their storage into the ship. Every year like clockwork the heavy Saudi winds from the north bear down in a southern direction into the sea down the coast of Africa. They continue the whole season. The ship following the winds would have taken them along South Africa and around to the Atlantic, the currents from their would pull them into the Caribbean Sea.
     Response: Taking each point one at a time:

1.The land he claims will not be known as a land of liberty.”
Response: This is an interesting statement: The word free was defined in 1829 as “A man enjoys liberty when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions” and means basically that there is “freedom from restraint,” which is a legal right to just about everyone in the Western Hemisphere—guarded, of course, by the might and power of the U.S., which does not extend, say, to No. Korea, China, and numerous other countries in pockets around the world). That America is the freest country in the world cannot be denied, though Canada is pretty close in this area. From the very beginning, because of the Monroe Doctrine, the United States has assured that the Western Hemisphere will be a land of liberty for all. Today, the entire Western Hemisphere is still a land of liberty, i.e., it is not controlled by kings and dictators specifically, no friend countries infringe the benefits and lives of the people, and individual governments are free to pursue the course of their own individual desires. From time to time a dictator has risen in power, but the U.S. has generally worked to overthrow that dictator (outside of Cuba, this has pretty much worked, but Cuba was aligned with Russia, though that has been pretty much ended); there are powers of freedom in every country; people are not confined bodily but are free to act (penalities for acting different from country to country sometimes); and basically are free (as opposed to communist countries where people are not free). It could be argued that America today is not as free as it once was under our own current government.
2. “The currents guiding the ship east don't actually exist.”
The red arrow shows that a current going east into Indonesia does not exist; however, by (purple arrow) dropping down to the Indian Ocean Gyre and picking up the counter-clockwise current south of the equator, it moves eastward along the southern arm—called the South Indian Current—and that will take a ship into the (blue line) Southern Ocean which heads east all around the globe with the (brown arrow) Humboldt Current moving up the west coast of South America (National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce) 

    Response: True, no currents lead eastward from the Sea of Arabia toward Indonesia; however, the current of the bottom arm of the Indian Ocean Gyre most certainly does exist and moves to the east and the currents in the Southern ocean most certainly exist and run around the globe in a west to east direction without stop (this current like all currents below the equator flows counter-clockwise, thus the bottom arm is moving east while the northern or top arm is moving west.
 It is a simple matter of winds and currents. The Winter Monsoons blow to the southwest, the Angulhas Current picks up along Madagascar moving southward, and (Red Line) bends slight toward the South Indian Current that takes a ship directly into the Southern Ocean where the West Wind Drift and the Prevailing Westerlies flow

3. “Nephi left right after harvest season when they harvested and piled all their storage into the ship.” While this might make sense, we do not know this and there is no way to know it. This is out and out speculation without any way to verify. As for harvest time, Khareef season in Salalah begins around the 20th of June (as it did this year according to Salalah’s Minister of Tourism [MoT]) and ends on September 21, with the Festival Time from mid-July through September 20).
    Harvest time varies—from June to September, the Khareeef’s wet winds create a thick and humid fog which coats the mountains in moisture, creating luxuriant green hills, and aid tropical fruit to be in season all year round. Some plants and fruits harvest early, such as roses that bloom in March and April, with apricots in May, peaches, figs, pears, almonds and apples in the summer, and pomegranates, grapes, walnuts and olives in October and November. Obviously, the harvest season extends through both monsoon seasons, so it would be difficult to pick a single date to cover this statement.
4. “Every year like clockwork the heavy Saudi winds from the north bear down in a southern direction into the sea down the coast of Africa.”
    Response: They blow this way only six months of the year, the other six months they blow in the opposite direction, following the monsoon movement.
What we know is the winds and currents move toward the southwest during the Winter Monsoon Season with the currents flowing to the southwest off the coast of Arabia, with the summer monsoons bringing rain every day, generally from April through September. This excessive atmospheric moisture and unusually warm air can create torrential, relentless rains that create flash floods and even crop damage, devastating fields and wreaking havoc in riverside communities and cities. On the other hand, the winter monsoons blow southward, driving the sea currents to the southwest, from October through March, generating long periods of dry and arid conditions. This is because the Monsoons always blow from cold to warm regions, thus the summer monsoon and the winter monsoon determine the climate for most of India and Southeast Asia.
The winter monsoons not only arrive in October and are characterized by dry air and cooler temperatures, they offer rain-soaked regions a welcome relief from months of endless rains. Winter monsoons are usually less powerful than summer monsoons and may bring high winds in addition to drier air. The hottest months begin in March at 86º and build to June at 90º, though it is also warm in October and November at 88º, with July, august and September dropping into the low 80s.
    Ideally, the dry air and lower winds of December through March would be the time to launch a wind-driven vessel, giving inexperienced sailors a chance to get the rigging and sails working appropriately in weaker winds and less rain-soaked conditions, with January being the best possible period.
(See the next post, “Response from a Reader: Sailing into the Atlantic – Part II,” for a continuation with item #5 and the continuation of this response)

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