Many readers may be acquainted with the truly unique story that involves the SS Warrimoo.
She was an Australian / New Zealand passenger ship that was launched in 1892. The ship is best remembered for where she was precisely at the turn of the year from 1899 to 1900.
I have come across a report that was carried in the Canadian newspaper Ottawa Journal on 13 May 1942 and it no doubt has been recorded in other publications, notably the magazine Ships and the Sea in 1953.
In my opinion it definitely deserves another airing. The ship was due to arrive at the crossing of the international date line and the equator on 31 December 1899 at midnight under the captaincy of Captain John Phillips.
This resulted in the bow of the ship being in the southern hemisphere in the summer on 1 January 1900, with the stern being in the northern hemisphere in winter on 31 December 1899. The ship was therefore at once within two different seasons, in two different hemispheres, on two different days, in two different months, in two different years.
The story commonly circulated claimed that the SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the waters of the mid-Pacific on her way from Vancouver to Australia. The navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought her, for the reasons clarified in the next paragraph, to the master, Captain John Phillips, for his attention. The passenger steamer Warrimoo’s position was latitude 0 degrees x 31 minutes north and longitude 179 degrees x 30 minutes west.
The date, as indicated, was 30 December 1899. The Navigator, First Mate Payton explained to his Captain that it meant the vessel was only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line. The significance of this information registered with Captain Phillips who happily decided to take full advantage of the opportunity for achieving the navigational freak opportunity of a lifetime.