Monday, February 5, 2018

How Did Mulek Escape Jerusalem? – Part III

Continued from the previous post, regarding how Mulek and his party fled Jerusalem and sailed to the Land of Promise. 
    In the last post we discussed how impossible it would have been for Mulek to board a ship in the heavily guarded Eastern Mediterranean when under Babylonian control; however, for those diehard theorists who insist that Mulek did so sail from there, consider that even if he and his party were able to manage to gain a ship in the Mediterranean Sea, which would have been so highly unlikely given the death sentence hanging over any escapees from Jerusalem at the time, especially Mulek being of the Royal Family. It cannot be ignored that also during this period of time the eastern Mediterranean was busily involved in the merchant shipping and trading of the Phoenicians, the military movement of the Greek fleets, the military movement of the Egyptian fleets, and the trading and merchant shipping of the western powers situated along the east and southern coast of Spain, including the major city-state of Tartessia. 
    Any movement of ships across the Mediterranean, especially if headed toward the Straits of Gibraltar would have drawn a lot of attention, especially around 600 B.C. when the entire Mediterranean was involved in conflict, trading wars, and protection of trading routes.
Tartessia, located along the southern coast of Spain, guarding access to the Atlantic

As an example, situated on the southwestern shore of Spain, Tartessia at the time of Mulek dominated the Mediterranean trade with their direct route overland to “las islas Caditérides, the British Isles, and the trade in tin. Often referred to as “La ruta del estaño, the “Tin Route,” the valuable trade in tin was a commodity, when mixed with copper, that created bronze. Huge profits were realized by shipping bronze into the eastern interior, along Mesopotamia, Persia, and China. This control of the tin trade enabled Tartessia to reap great profits and grow to a major power in the Western Mediterranean and they would not have given up that control.
Any ship moving toward the Atlantic would have been stopped, searched, and likely looted by the aggressive Tartessians who jealously guarded the sea trade toward England and Gaul

Any ship heading toward the west would have drawn immediate attention. Not only does this mean passing by the observation from the island of Malta, passing between the narrow waters between Sicily and Tunisia, and also between Sardinia and Algeria, as well as passing through by the Balearic Islands, a ship then headed down the straits toward Gibraltar. Passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, which runs about ten miles before reaching the end of the strait between Tarifa and Ksar es Srhir and entering into the Atlantic, the ship would pass through a narrow strait barely nine miles wide where a person, ship or lookout on one shore could easily see across to the other shore, thus seeing any ship heading toward the Strait. Such an event would certainly have been detected by the Tartessians who would have stopped any ship because of their fierce competitive dominance and control of merchant trade routes. After all, a ship leaving Mediterranean waters and sailing into the Atlantic posed a possible threat to that control and the Tartessians were extremely aggressive in protecting that trade route.
    To think that any ship could sail out through the narrow Pillars of Hercules without raising such concerns and bringing immediate action against them is simply to not understand the trade wars that existed at the time. Thus, such a course would not have been the way Mulek reached the Land of Promise, even if he had been able to secure a ship in the Eastern Mediterranean, which prospect seems extremely unlikely.
    Consequently, there is simply no way, despite all the hyperbole to the contrary by theorists who claim Mulek sailed across the Mediterranean and then the Atlantic to the Land of Promise, there is no way he could have taken that route. This leaves us the other three routes. Thus, after traveling to the southeast as Lehi did, he arrived at Lehi’s Land of Bountiful, and from there:
2. He left the Arabian Peninsula and sailed directly east, around India and through the Indonesia archipelago and then across the Pacific Ocean to land on the west coast of the Land of Promise.
In this second case, any passage eastward from the coast of Arabia would be impossible for an ocean vessel capable of sailing across deep water, a scenario thoroughly discussed in the book “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica.” In short, the winds and currents would be against such a voyage the entire ten thousand miles to the Western Hemisphere, since these winds and currents flow westward across the Pacific in the South Pacific Gyre, then into Indonesia in what is called the Indonesia Throughflow, which is a low-latitude pathway for warm fresh water to move from the Pacific iinto the Indian Oean, which serves as the upper branch of the global heat conveyor belt. 
    Thus, these winds and currents flow from the Pacific Ocean westward and through the Indonesia  in the opposite direction the ship would have to sail, and when those currents and winds hit Indonesia, they continue to flow westward in many swirling and cross-current directions, creating dangerous waters among the thousands of islands that block this passage from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean for a deep water vessel. Small, coastal boats with adjustable lateen sails could make such a voyage and often had during this time and earlier, but Nephi's ship could not have done so.
    It should be understood that while such shallow-bottom fishing and small trading boats as well as Chinese junks and coastal vessels operated among the islands to India, these were ships not capable of sailing into deep water where they would have been smashed to pieces in high waves and storms, espeically the one Nephi describes (1 Nephi 18:13). And contrary to popular myth, these coastal ships never reached the Western Hemisphere, a voyage of about 7,000 miles across the Pacific against winds and currents. 
    In addition, to think that those carrying Mulek across the sea would not have stopped and probably stayed in one of the hundreds of lush islands they passed seems out of character for emigrants--Zedekiah's royal household was not particularly receptive to the word of the Lord. Again, this would not have been a viable course for Mulek to take simply because of the contrary winds and currents and the need for very experienced seamanship to even negotiate such a dangerous course.
    This brings us to the third alternative:
3. He left the Arabian Peninsula and sailed down past Madagascar, around the horn of Africa and up the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean to land on the east coast of the Land of Promise.
    In the third case above, such a course around Africa might seem possible when looking at a map, however, the currents around South Africa runs into a major problem that plagued Portuguese sailors for many years, resulting in numerous shipwrecks and mariner deaths since two converging currents meet off the tip of Africa. 
   These currents are the cold upwelling Benguela Current of the Pacific Ocean flowing southward along the west coast of Africa, and the warm Agulhas Current flowing southward along the east coast of Africa and is the western boundary current of the southwest Indian Ocean. When they meet, the Agulhas Current retroflects, that is, it turns back on itself and is forced back to the east because of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (West Wind Drift) and becomes the Agulhas Return Current, rejoining the Indian Ocean Gyre.
Red Current Flow: The strong Agulhas Current flows down the eastern coast of Africa, bends westward toward the Cape, then suddenly turns back upon itself in a retroflection of current and creates a recirculation region as it flows back to the east, leaving behind eddies, rings, and other difficult and dangerous subcurrents

Where the Agulhas turns back on itself the loop of the retroflection pinches off periodically, releasing an eddy into the South Atlantic Gyre. This "Agulhas Ring" enters the flow of the Benguela Current or is advected northwestward across the South Atlantic where it joins the South Equatorial Current, where they dissipate into the larger background currents. It is important to understand that at this retroflection area, strong subcurrents, rings and eddies occur as a small amount of the Agulhas Current "leaks" into the Atlantic.
    In addition, along this meeting of the currents around South Africa, extremely dangerous rogue waves (monster waves, killer waves, extreme waves) occur, that are considered “extremely dangerous” even today for large ships such as ocean liners. As an example, rogue waves present considerable danger because they are rare, unpredictable, may appear suddenly or without warning, and can impact with tremendous force. A 40-foot wave in the usual "linear" model would have a breaking pressure of 6 metric tons per square meter [t/m2] (8.5 psi). Although modern ships are designed to tolerate a breaking wave of 15 t/m2 (21 psi), a rogue wave can dwarf both of these figures with a breaking pressure of 100 t/m2 (140 psi). It might be of note that even today, thirty large ships were sunk by rogue waves along the South African east-coast between 1981 and 1991.
    These dangerous and unpredictable waves seem not to have a single distinct cause, but occur where physical factors such as high winds and strong currents cause waves to merge to create a single exceptionally large wave. They may well be one of the major causes of the high level of shipwrecks that have been recorded along this southern area.
Yellow Circle shows the area of the "Graveyard of Ships"

In fact, this area has been labeled the “Graveyard of Ships” and the “Cape of Storms” for centuries. With a coastline of 1550 miles, this area around South Africa has claimed nearly 3000 ships over the centuries, including many of the original Portuguese explorers, ships of the East India Companies, the British Royal Navy and many more, most of which simply disappeared without a trace.
    At the promontory where the tip of the African continental shelf disappears undramatically into the sea to form what is known as the Agulhas Bank, the Atlantic and Indian oceans merge. This is the world’s most treacherous stretch of coast, where the often turbulent waters are shallow, rock-strewn and subject to heavy swells and strong currents. This treacherous length of coastline with its unsuspecting reefs, gale-force winds and powerful currents make sailing here in "drift voyages" or "driven forth before the wind" one of the most dangerous places in the world and its eastern cape, called “The Wild Coast,” is well known for its numerous shipwrecks, averaging more than 2 wrecks per mile of capricious coast.
    This is the area and waters where unknowing and evidently uncaring theorists adamantly claim Lehi and Mulek sailed, in waters that frightened the most experienced mariners of the Portuguese and early Spanish explorers. Since it was anathema to experienced mariners for centuries, one can only imagine how Lehi's inexperienced crew could have managed such a voyage around Africa as so many theorists like to claim.
(See the next post, “How Did Mulek Get to the Land of Promise?-Part IV” which shows the fourth possible way and the only route Mulek could have taken to reach the Land of Promise and land where the scriptural record claims)

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