Was Californian Caught in an Eddy?

Mar 22, 2003
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I forgot to ask you what is your own version on why Mr. Stone testified the bearing were changing? As you know he stated the same in the affidavit he submitted to his own Captain.
You are not going to like my answer, but:

The bottom line is that changes in relative bearings to rockets sent up from Titanic, as well as from Carpathia, were seen from the bridge of Californian that night. Since we know that compass bearings to the rockets should not change by any significant amount, the only valid explanation for the change in relative bearings to those rockets is the swinging of the vessel from which these observations were made. The swinging of Californian may have been somewhat erratic at times, possibly even retrograde, causing a misinterpretation of what was being seen. It also seems that careful correlations in time between relative bearings and ship headings may not have been taken, leading to false conclusions about the movements of the vessel from which those rockets came.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Alex P,

I don't want to do a 'spoiler', but have a look at the recent thread "2nd Officer Stone's interrogation" and the explanations provided as to why Stone stated he saw the rockets fired from the Carpathia "about SSW" "about 3.20am" (Stone's 18th April statement to Captain Lord).

In his British Inquiry testimony Stone stated at the time the Carpathia's rockets were seen, The Californian was heading west, and the lights were seen directly abeam off the port side. This somewhat contradicted his 18th April statement to Captain Lord, but that was of no consequence at the time because Captain Lord withheld from disclosing both statements of 18th April to either the British Inquiry or the USA Inquiry.

Does it not seem a bit odd that Gibson never states he looks at the compass at all that night?

Sam has given you all the clues. You just have to complete the cryptic puzzle and work it out for yourself!

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Julian Atkins

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(I typed the above post earlier then did a 'refresh' on my laptop before 'posting', but Sam's more recent reply of 6.51pm reply did not come up till I had posted my own reply, and did not appear either when I started typing my above post well after 6.51pm).
 
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AlexP

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Does it not seem a bit odd that Gibson never states he looks at the compass at all that night?
7741. Could you see whether she was steaming away?
- No. The Second Officer was taking bearings of her all the time.

From Mr. Gibson's affidavit

44850
 
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AlexP

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You are not going to like my answer, but:

The bottom line is that changes in relative bearings to rockets sent up from Titanic, as well as from Carpathia, were seen from the bridge of Californian that night. Since we know that compass bearings to the rockets should not change by any significant amount, the only valid explanation for the change in relative bearings to those rockets is the swinging of the vessel from which these observations were made. The swinging of Californian may have been somewhat erratic at times, possibly even retrograde, causing a misinterpretation of what was being seen. It also seems that careful correlations in time between relative bearings and ship headings may not have been taken, leading to false conclusions about the movements of the vessel from which those rockets came.
Once again, invented retrograde swinging. I am not sure how one takes compass bearings, but it is hard to imagine that Mr. Stone would have been making errors like that whole night long. After all he used the same compass to take Californian’s headings, and Mr. Groves and Mr. Stone agreed about 12:08 heading.
 

AlexP

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The account you cited was from steward Hart. Hart went away in boat #15, quite late in the sinking timeframe. He said he saw the two masthead lights to the north before and after he went away in the boat. He was on the starboard side of the ship when he left in boat #15 for sure. Yet Lightoller, Boxhall, Lowe, Rowe, and many more said this steamer was off Titanic's port bow. I'm sure our mystery ship advocate friends would claim yet another two-masted mystery ship on Titanic's starboard bow in addition to the one on her port bow that was there at the same time. Or, as one of these advocates once wrote, 'What does a steward know about port and starboard?' I do know there is no double star in the northern sky that could be taken for masthead lights of a ship.
Of course the lights were seen off the port bow before the Californian drifted right. Then her lights were seen from the Titanic's starboard.
Mr. Rowe saw only a single light from the Titanic. He saw that single light at the same time Mr. Boxhall saw 4 or 3. Therefore his testimony is unreliable. The same applies to Mr. Lightoller.
Mr. Hart's testimony appears more reliable for two reasons. He saw the light from the starboard at the same time Mr. Boxhall lost them on the port bow. Mr. Hart did not say the lights were very bright.
You forgot to include the sentence preceding the one quoted:
"Just off the harbor entrance a magnetic disturbance was noted. While the ship was swinging left slowly, the compass swung to the left rapidly about one point."
The swing of that compass caused by the disturbance was only 1 point. In the case of bearings from Californian, we are talking about 6 to 7 point differences.
By the way, there nothing unusual for some places to have local magnetic disturbances. NOTAMS in aviation warn airline and private pilots of where these are. The good news is that the directional gyro is unaffected by this, but still the DG has to be periodically adjusted to match the mag compass in places where there are no local disturbances. And by the way, solar flares have been known to throw the mag compass off. Perhaps you would like to jump on that bit of information?
Actually it were you who forgot to respond to the statement by The White Star Line.

It was you who wrote that the eddy theory can explain all the events described?
Yes, it was me, and it can. I can explain

Why the Californian lights were seen from the Titanic well after midnight?
Why nobody but Mr. Boxhall saw the green sidelight?
Why a few professional Mariners said that the Californian was approaching?
What time the survivors in #8 saw both Californian sidelights together?
Why Mr. Stone testified the steamer he was watching was changing bearings?
Why Carpathia's rockets were seen SW from the Californian?
Why Californian's heading did not change for the first 1.5 hours, but changed for 225 degrees in the same direction in the next 4 hours?

Can you?
 
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AlexP

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Once again, invented retrograde swinging. I am not sure how one takes compass bearings, but it is hard to imagine that Mr. Stone would have been making errors like that whole night long. After all he used the same compass to take Californian’s headings, and Mr. Groves and Mr. Stone agreed about 12:08 heading.
I would like to clarify why I called the alleged retrograde swinging invented evidence.

1. It is very doubtful that Captain Rostron would have fired rockets every 3 minute because rockets provided too much illumination and lookouts could have missed on seeing an iceberg. Below is a quote from Sir James Bisset‘s book.

When the green flare was sighted ahead, Captain Rostron Ordered a rocket to be fired in reply, followed by the Cunard identification rockets of colored balls of fireworks ("Roman candles"), and these were repeated every fifteen minutes, to let the Titanic people know our position . The sudden rockets added to the difficulties of lookout, but they were an imperative procedure in the circumstances.

2. Nobody from the survivors testified they saw 3 rockets at 3:30 a.m.
3. It is hard to imagine that in dead calm conditions Mr. Gibson would not have noticed that the Californian swung back and forth 3 times for 22.5 degrees each, and if he did notice it, why did he make sure to mention the change in bearings.

Most Titanic books are written for laymen who do not ask questions.
 

AlexP

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And by the way, solar flares have been known to throw the mag compass off. Perhaps you would like to jump on that bit of information?
This is a great idea, Samuel!

I should have thought about it myself.

Titanic survivors saw Aurora Borealis.
Aurora Borealis are seldom seen at 42 North. It is usually seen somewhere above 60 North.
It means that a great geomagnetic storm was taken place.
geomagnetic storms influence compasses.

So thank you for the suggestion! Now I know what was going on with the compass.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Alex P/Mila,

Gibson was Stone's "poodle", to use a contemporary reference used by Lloyd George.

The Carpathia steamed up on it's rescue mission on a north westerly course sort of, that would have been seen sort of south east from The Californian.

Yet Stone describes what he and Gibson saw (lights in his case, but 3 white rockets in Gibson's case) to be from the SSW. The only 2 ships that we know of who fired rockets that night were Titanic, and the Carpathia, and the Carpathia was certainly not on a bearing from The Californian of SSW!

This bearing is beyond doubt (SSW) as being wrong!

So why do you think Stone saw the Carpathia's rockets in the SSW?

Consider Stone as an unobservant idiot who hadn't a clue what was going on that night, and who also failed to appreciate Titanic's movements as she also slowly turned clockwise, that IMHO another unobservant idiot who had far much more to contend with that night namely Boxhall singularly failed to account for.

Cheers,

Julian
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Hi Julian,
I'm not quite willing to describe Boxhall as an unobservant idiot, but he did have far more to attend with that night by his own admission. I hope I didn't start yet another wild theory/speculation when I mentioned about solar flares causing magnetic disturbances. They do if severe enough, but before Alex and Mila decide to run with that, I can easily prove that such was not the case, as I've also shown (via the diagram previous posted above) that an eddy cannot be taken seriously as the cause of Stone's reported compass bearings taken some time after the 6th rocket was seen. The proof that Stone was not a reliable observer of course happened at 4 o'clock when it was Stewart who pointed out to him that a vessel had showed up to the southward and it came as big surprise to Stone who, as OOW, should have seen that steamer approach long before Stewart arrived. There was about 20 minutes from the time Gibson went down to when Stewart came up. What was Stone doing all that time?

Gibson was Stone's messenger. If Stone told him to tell Lord that the steamer went out of sight to the SW, that is what Gibson did. Gibson was not at the compass taking bearings, Stone was. Too bad Gibson didn't go over to have a look. But Gibson did testify that the glare of light from the deck of the steamer appeared always to the right of the mast light, that the red sidelight disappeared after the 7th rocket was seen, that the lights of the steamer started to look queer even before the sidelight disappeared and that he and Stone talked about that, that he never saw the steamer turn around, that he never saw what to him could be taken as a stern light, that the steamer's masthead light was visible from the time he came on deck about 12:15 until he saw the steamer disappear at 2:05.

There was one interesting time at the British inquiry when either Gibson became totally confused, or that he recalled a time when he noticed his own ship swinging in a counter-clockwise direction. It was at this point during his questioning:

7772. To show you her red light she must have been heading to the northward of N. N. W., on your story? - Yes.
7773. And your head was falling away; which way? - To northward.
7774. To northward and westward? - Northward and eastward.
7775. You were heading E. N. E.? - Yes - to northward and westward.
7776. To the northward it was at any rate, and if you pass to northward you would get to the northward and west? - Yes.
 

AlexP

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I can easily prove that such was not the case
Not that I believe you have proven anything in regards to the eddy. Not that I believe you could account for any of the points i’ve listed above, but I really would like to hear how you could prove that there was no geomagnetic storm going on.
 

AlexP

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Prove it was going on Alex. My proof is in post #5 if you really look hard enough.
I think that this could provide a perfect explanation for the Californian’s heading ENE at 10:25, then NE, and then ENE again at 12:08.
There are some other indications as well. But I would appreciate if you could explain your proof to me please cause I don’t understand it.
 

Julian Atkins

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There was one interesting time at the British inquiry when either Gibson became totally confused
Hi Sam,

Yes, Gibson did get totally confused towards the end of his British testimony. He also couldn't provide an explanation for the lights he saw, and got his timings wrong as he got to that rather tortuous and cringe worthy end of his testimony.

I described this on another thread as "witness fatigue", and an adjournment should have been called for, especially if he was veering off his 'wreck commissioners' statement provided a few days previously (the weekend intervened), though there is no actual evidence from the questioning that he was departing from his 'wreck commissioners' statement, unlike Captain Lord and Stewart who both had quoted back to them the 'wreck commissioners' statements they had signed a few days previously.

So far as the British Inquiry was concerned, I don't think Lord Mersey was too interested in what went on once Titanic sank, and the Carpathia's rockets seen from The Californian was misunderstood and given no weight; though in actual fact it ought to have been properly considered and assessed and given due weight.

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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Alex, I suggest you do some research on geomagnetic storms and their effects on the compass. As far as the proof in the diagram, let me just say if there was such an event to cause havoc with Californian's compass it would have had similar effect on all compasses in the area.
 
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AlexP

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Owf course I've done some research.
Other compasses? How' about this: Titanic's wrong SOS position, Californian getting a few miles off the course, and Carpathia finding the boat # 2 a few miles southwest from the wreck site.

BTW in this video the eddy is rotating counterclockwise but the wood while drifting in the eddy is rotating clockwise.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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BTW in this video the eddy is rotating counterclockwise but the wood while drifting in the eddy is rotating clockwise.
Your looking at a narrow stream acting on objects floating on the water drifting downstream as well as being affected by a light wind. If you're going to use videos, find them in the middle of the open ocean, then we can talk.
Titanic's wrong SOS position, Californian getting a few miles off the course, and Carpathia finding the boat # 2 a few miles southwest from the wreck site.
If you consider those as proof of compass errors, then I suggest there is much you need to learn about. I don't feel this conversation is any longer productive, and I'm not going to waste my time trying to enhance your learning curve.
 

AlexP

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Your looking at a narrow stream acting on objects floating on the water drifting downstream as well as being affected by a light wind. If you're going to use videos, find them in the middle of the open ocean, then we can talk.
No, it was not down stream current, it was an eddy. The wood turned and went around the pond.
Anyways. I still see no response for any of the points I made above.
Therefore, I conclude that you cannot explain any of them.
If you consider those as proof of compass errors, then I suggest there is much you need to learn about. I don't feel this conversation is any longer productive, and I'm not going to waste my time trying to enhance your learning curve.
it is a perfect response for a person who has no response.
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Sam,

Yes, Gibson did get totally confused towards the end of his British testimony. He also couldn't provide an explanation for the lights he saw, and got his timings wrong as he got to that rather tortuous and cringe worthy end of his testimony.

I described this on another thread as "witness fatigue", and an adjournment should have been called for, especially if he was veering off his 'wreck commissioners' statement provided a few days previously (the weekend intervened), though there is no actual evidence from the questioning that he was departing from his 'wreck commissioners' statement, unlike Captain Lord and Stewart who both had quoted back to them the 'wreck commissioners' statements they had signed a few days previously.

So far as the British Inquiry was concerned, I don't think Lord Mersey was too interested in what went on once Titanic sank, and the Carpathia's rockets seen from The Californian was misunderstood and given no weight; though in actual fact it ought to have been properly considered and assessed and given due weight.

Cheers,

Julian
Hello Julian.

Have you carefully examined the questions put to young Gibson?

I suggest to you that they were put by a man who had read about ships but was uncomfortable with proper marine terminology. A man who set out to prove a pre- conceived idea... that Gibson was looking at Titanic and that the questioner, like Lord Mersey, was convinced that Titanic had 2 white masthead lights...which she most certainly did not have.
Gibson had no idea how Californian was heading, nor did he have any reason for knowing that. When you asked a navigator how his ship was steaming, he would not give you and answer unless he knew exactly the direction in question
Qs 7438 and 7439 would have had Gibson smiling.
Q 7444 about signalling using the masthead light must have given Gibson an inward fit of the giggles.
The next sequence of questions concerning the use of the use of the morse signalling equipment were hilarious. By the time the questioner got to the end of the session, is it any wonder the poor lad was confused.

However, I suggest to you that very important parts of Gibson's evidence relative to that first hour were the answers to Q: 7424, Q: 7438, Q: 7463 and Q:7469, because from them we can deduce that Californian's bow swung to the right a total of about 28 degrees in 33 minutes.

As for Gibson's weird times?
The first proper rocket was seen at 4-07 GMT. The equivalent time on Californian was either 12-47 am or 12-57 am. If five were fired at 5 minute intervals, then the 5th one was seen at 01-12 am or 01-22 am. If so, Gibson's time was about 20 minutes SLOW of ship time.
When Gibson went to bed the previous night, the world was normal and he expected that the ship;s clocks would be retarded by 23 minutes By the time he next went to work. This suggests that Gibson set his watch back 23 minutes so his watch would be 23 minutes slow. However, if Captain Lord (wisely) decided to retard his clocks by 10 minutes to reflect the local mean time where he was stopped for ice, then Gibson's watch would have been 13 minutes slow of proper ship time. Thus, when his watch showed 12-55 am, the ship time was actually 1-08 am. now work back 5 rocket sightings from there.

Just saying:oops: