Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Another Attempt to Sell Us a Route Around Africa

Sometimes theorists just won’t give it a rest. Heartland and Great Lakes theorists, who desperately try to claim Lehi sailed around Africa and up the Atlantic to North America simply miss the point of “sailing around Africa,” somehow thinking it would have been a Sunday stroll in the park.
    As one critic recently wrote: "You are embarrassing yourself. Lehi rounded the horn of Africa and went right up the Atlantic to North America (would take about 90 days or so)l..You landlubbers are clueless related sailing as one who sails and runs a sailing school I can tell you your route in this video is simply crazy. Nephi said they sailed to the promised land in many days which means under a year and there is not way to sail across the Indian ocean, southern Pacific in under a year...Sorry your theory does not hold water. And no Lehi did not land in South America."
Black Circles: Horn of Africa is not the same as the Cape of Africa; Red Line: This reader's proposed course for Lehi around the African Cape

Response: First of all, as even a "landlubber" would know, the Horn of Africa is in the northeast off the Gulf of Aden across from Yemen, and in which Djibouti and Somalia are located, which is 4,368 miles north of the Cape of Africa, where the ships on this reader's course would have to round into the Atlantic. Secondly, let us spell out, in response, who should be aware of this being so knowledgeable about sailing and running a sailing school as you claim, that sailing around Africa was no simple matter in the days of Lehi, and actually not even today. Cape Agulhas (Cape of Needles) is a rocky headland at the eastern end of the western Cape in South Africa, starts the rounding of Africa form the Indian Ocean.
The Cape of Africa, made ujp of several capes and points all of which fall into the area called the "Graveyard of Ships"

This route covers four basic areas: Cape Agulhas, which is the eastern boundary current of the southwest Indian Ocean, with Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town), the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula, and the western boundary (where a ship coming from the west around Africa begins its first turn more eastward than southward), with Quoin Point and Danger Point (at Birkenhead) in between. Cape Hangklip (at Pringle Bay) is across False Bay from the Cape of Good Hope along the Cape Peninsula, but not really a way point on this journey.
    The sources of the Agulhas Current are the East Madagascar Current (25 Sv), the Mozambique Current (5 Sv) and a recirculated part of the south-west Indian subgyre south of Madagascar, and flows down the east coast of Africa from 27°S to 40°S. It is narrow, swift and strong—let me repeat that: it is narrow, swift and strong. It is considered to be the largest western boundary current in the world ocean, with an estimated net transport of 100 Sverdrups (Sv, millions m3/s), as western boundary currents at comparable latitudes transport less, such as the Brazil Current (16.2 Sv), Gulf Stream, (34 Sv) and the Kuroshio (42 Sv).
    Now the net transport of this current, estimated as 100 Sv., is directed by the topography as it follows the continental shelf from Maputo to the tip of the Agulhas Bank (155 miles south of Cape Agulhas). At this point, the momentum of the current overcomes the vorticity balance holding the current to the topography and the current leaves the shelf, reaching a maximum transport near the Agulhas Bank of  between 95-136 Sv. The core of the current is defined as where the surface velocities reaches (39 in/s), which gives the core an average width of 21 miles. The mean peak speed is 54 in/s), but the current can reach 96 in/s).
    This is important because the swiftness of this current effects the ocean surrounding the western entrance around Africa and entrance into the Atlantic! Of course to modern sailing ships of today, this is nowhere as critical as it would have been to Nephi’s ship, which was a square-rigger (fixed sails) that was “driven forth before the wind.” Nor would this be as important to modern, well-trained and experienced seamen as it would have been to Lehi’s party of inexperienced “landlubbers.”
    His crew, after all, did not have the benefit of a sailing school and anyone on board who knew anything at all about ships, sails, or sailing!
    Now, as this Agulhas Current flows south along the African east coast, it tends to bulge inshore frequently, a deviation from the current's normal path known as Agulhas Current meanders. These bulges are occasionally followed by a much larger offshore bulge, known as Natal pulses, these latter moving along the coast at 12 miles per day, with the pules bulging up to 75 miles from the current's mean position. That is, while the current passes here at 21 miles offshore, the meanders reach 76 miles offshore, broadening from 55 miles in width to 78 miles, inducing a strong inshore counter-current—this causes large-scale cyclonic meanders known as Natal pulses that form along the continental shelf on the South African east-coast (i.e. the eastern Agulhas Bank off Natal).
    As these pulses move along the coast on the Agulhas Bank, they pinch off Agulhas rings from the current, such a ring shedding causes cyclonic vorticity belts around the Loop Current causing vortex ring instability resulting in cyclones and counter-clockwise anticyclones.
White Circle: Area referred to initially as the Cape of Storms; this area where the Agulhas Current retroflects or turns back upon itself is a turbulent area of eddies, counter-currents, colliding current and severe storms

Now, when this warm, swift Agulhas current reaches the so-called “division line” between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, it collides with the cold Benguela Current flowing up the west coast of Africa, which does not, by the way, originate from Antarctic waters in the South Atlantic Ocean as one would suppose, but from upwelling of water from the cold depths of the Atlantic Ocean against the west coast of the continent. The two currents do not "meet" anywhere along the south coast of Africa, however, the Agulhas Current retroflects, i.e., turns back upon itself due to sheer interaction with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current or “West Wind Drift.” Thus, the Agulhas becomes the Auglhas Return Current, rejoining the Indian Ocean Gyre, which automatically turns back upon itself and back into the Indian Ocean any drift voyage, or antiquitos sailing vessel “driven forth before the wind.”
    This coming together of these currents off the southern coast of Africa, causing enormous filament of cold, upwelled water which extends hundreds of mile from shore in a mesoscale field of eddies and coherent vortices and cascades of other structures such as filaments, squirts and spirals of three-dimensional structures that reach own into the pycnocline. We mention all of this to suggest the uneven and tumultuous character of this ocean as it rounds the Cape of Africa.
    This turbulent ocean was called by early Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias as the Cabo das Tormentas, or Cape of Storms, and as we have mentioned several times in our articles, resulted in the infamous “Graveyard of Ships” along the western Cape, found here from early efforts trying to round this headland or cape in either direction. In fact, this western coastal area of South Africa is quite dangerous and has claimed thousands of vessels over the centuries. The most famous wrecks include the Grosvenor, the Arniston, the Waratah, the Birkenhead, the Sacramento, The SS Thomas T Tucker and the Oceanos. It is estimated that more than 2500 shipwrecks have occurred along the South African coast since 1500, all from a diverse range of cultures and countries and include ships of Portuguese explorers, Dutch, English and French East India Companies, the British Royal Many and more. Some of the ships that sailed our treacherous seas simply disappeared without a trace. The eastern coastal area of this Cape is referred to as “The Wild Coast,” and is well known for its numerous shipwrecks where treacherous seas and heavy rain have taken their toll of shipping. Even in modern times, ship’s engines have failed on numerous occasions because they could not compete against the windy seas, eventually running aground. In fact, there are many shipwreck dive sites along this coast, including one at Smitswinkel Bay on the Southern Peninsula in Cape Town. This is one of South Africa's deepest dive sites and contains a wealth of shipwreck discoveries. Other shipwreck dive sites located along the Cape Peninsula includes the Maori wreck, the Oakburn, the Boss, the Katzmaru, the Kyna’s coast, and lots more.
Da Gama’s pioneered a route that swung wide out into the Atlantic, almost to the coast of Brazil, where he picked up the counter-clockwise current of the South Atlantic Gyre and swung around to land at St. Helen’s Bay. From there he became a coastal vessel, landing at seven towns along the southern and eastern coast of Africa before crossing to India

Vasco de Gama is credited with sailing around the Cape in 1497 from west to east in the ship São Gabriel and its sister ship, the São Rafael, captained by da Gama’s younger brother, Paulo. The only reason he was able to accomplish this fete, was from the advice of Bartholomew Dias, who had not achieved that result, and suggested that it would be better if da Gama swung wide out into the Atlantic and picked up the prevailing winds to the Southern Ocean and around Africa.
    On his initial voyage to the Cape area of Africa, da Gama left Lisbon on July 8, 1497, and arrived at St. Helen’s Bay on the tip of Africa on November 4, 1497—spending four days shy of four months just to reach the Cape. And he sailed with the currents, picking up the Westerlies out in the Atlantic that Bartholomew Dias told him about. On December 16, he reached the Great Fish River, where Dias turned back—an overall trip of five months and eight days just to reach the Indian Ocean. On his return trip from India, sailing east to west around the Cape, it took him three months just to cross the Indian Ocean and an entire year before reaching Portugal—with only 54 of his 170-man crew surviving the trip. In 600 B.C., under the Egyptian king Wehimbre Nekao (Necho II), Phoencian seaman sailed around Africa, from east to west, it took three years. In both these cases, the ships were manned by very experienced sailors, not novices like were aboard Nephi’s ship.
    So much for this critics 90-day trip around Africa for Lehi and up the Atlantic to North America. Thus, the idea of a short trip for Lehi to reach the Land of Promise around Africa is considerably under-estimated, and as faulty as is this entire argument.

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