My Sundial Over the Oldest Continuously Inhabited Place on Earth
I carry this collapsible sundial on any voyage or journey I take... It is far more accurate and reliable than my pilots watch... only it does not work at night or when it is too cloudy.
I don't really use it to tell time... when I take a reading from it it actually gives me a real sense of place... where I am on the earth, how I relate to the sun. The tilt of our planet. It puts all of the angles into perspective.
For some reason it anchors me more firmly to the ground on which I stand when I take a celestial bearing.
When we explored the Vesvidoff volcanic ashfields near where the Black Creek empties into the Bering Sea, the locals Vinny and "Uncle" Lestenkoff were amazed that the sundial even worked at this northern latitude. They looked at each other and laughed as I pulled it out and opened it up... Vinny said it had been tried before but it'd never worked.
The secret is in the manner of adjustment for the latitude... this is one of the few sundials I've seen that can be set for a latitude this close to the pole.
I took a reading here above the village site at Ugludax. This place has had people living on it for almost ten thousand years without interuption.
At best, 30 people still live on the entire island. With Okmok shaking and spitting up ash, followed by two more volcanoes going off, there may have been only a dozen people still living on the island.
A 5.0 earthquake right before we got off the Polaris broke the villages water pipe in four places.
Scott said you could see waves rolling across the grass covered hills of Umnak as the world shook.
While we were on the island new earth was actually created... almost two square miles of brand new surface formed in the ocean. That's kinda cool... new earth being born. I smile when I think of it still.
This photograph was taken from the hill above the Ugludax Site near the village of Nikolski Alaska on the Island of Umak in the Bering Sea.
Umnak is an island far out on the Aleutian chain.
It's a magic place.