MATH Marine Anthropology Modules

Nov 19

The Posts on this page are the summaries for the courses developed by Marine Archaeologist Yvonne-Cher Skye while living aboard the Mary and Bill of Rights in Chula Vista, California, U.S.A.. It consists of 21 aspects of Marine Anthropology which can be taught in a seminar single-day format or over an 18-week semester.

The supplemental materials will be available for purchase via paypal or credit card on her webpage located at the YGFI- Your Girl Friday International Website.  Links to individual modules and their introductions will be posted on this page, as well as on the Skye Research Page on YGFI’s website.

To gain a better understanding of the courses that are offered, please read the introduction page here.

Follow the links to the other posts which will provide links to the specific page on the website to purchase that module.  At the present time, they are provided as an entire package, which includes:

  • Course Outline
  • Glossary
  • Module
  • Notes
  • References available
  • Websites
  • Summary of course to promote to students and the public
  • Handouts
  • Video list of related topics

As well as each document is available for single purchase.

The purpose of these modules is to provide an unique educational opportunity which does not require formal educational training to conduct the course.  The idea of providing so many supplemental materials is to ensure satisfaction of the attendees of the course, as well as the boards or governing bodies of any organization that chooses to add these courses to their existing programs.  As stated in the introduction module this is only the skeleton of the courses, and it can stand alone as an introductory course, further more advanced courses will be developed in the future.

Ms. Skye has also developed modules for Climatology, Marine Science, and soon to be announced.

MATH 001 In the Beginning – Summary

MATH 002 Fabled Lands – Summary

MATH 003 Legendary Voyages – Summary

MATH 004 Sea Quests, Famous Expeditions and Explorers – Summary

MATH 005 Maritime History – Summary

MATH 006 Nautical Custom – Summary

MATH 007 Life at Sea – Summary

MATH 008 Famous Captains – Summary

MATH 009 Mutinies – Summary

MATH 010 Big Ships – Summary

MATH 011 Death and Disaster – Summary

MATH 012 Navigable Waters – Summary

MATH 013 Castaways and Survivors – Summary

MATH 014 Criminals – Summary

MATH 015 Myths – Summary

MATH 016 Mysteries – Summary

MATH 017 Monsters – Summary

MATH 018 Wraiths of the Sea – Summary

MATH 019 Superstitions and Beliefs – Summary

MATH 020 Famous Ships – Summary

MATH 021 Battles – Summary

Traverse Board

Feb 23
Posted by lfpl Filed in Navigation and Measure


Traverse board:

“Traverse board: The ship’s crew used a traverse board to plot the ship’s speed and course over four hours, which was the length of time of one watch shift. The speed and compass direction were plotted on the board at thirty-minute intervals. At the end of the watch, the information plotted on the traverse board was charted on paper. The information helped pilots with estimating the ship’s location” ~ Diorama/display in the Florida Museum of Natural History, Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo 091712-52.jpg) Traverse board:

Maritime Navigation:

Feb 23
Posted by lfpl Filed in Life on the Sea, Navigation and Measure



” Navigation: Ship pilots of the 1500s had few tools to help them navigate unfamiliar waters. Pilots had to be familiar with astronomy, maps, math, physics, and seamanship to direct the ship successfully. Shifting winds and currents, and sometimes hurricanes made navigation difficult.

The Cross Staff: was used to measure the angle between the horizon and the sun or North Star. Combining this information with data from astronomical tables provided the latitude.

The Hourglass: A sand clock or hourglass was used to measure time. It took thirty minutes for the sand to empty from the upper to the lower chamber. The clock was turned upside down to repeat the process.” ~ Diorama/display in the Florida Museum of Natural History, Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo 091712-53.jpg) Navigation:


Log line, Lead Line

Dec 31
Posted by lfpl Filed in Navigation and Measure


These were basic mechanisms for measuring anchor depth and the distance/speed a ship was travelling.

Lead Line or sounding line
This would be a length of thin rope with a plummet at its end (usually made of lead) that would be dropped into the water. This would be managed by the “leadsman” who would stand outboard on a channel and clear the ship as he “heaves the lead” by swinging it in a vertical circle over his head with a scope of 1-2 fathoms and upon precise momentum would let go for the lead to fall ahead and down to the bottom by the time the vessel reaches it, while letting the coil of rope free from his hands and then gathering slack as the ship comes ahead. When the lead is below him, he notes where the surface of the water is on the line and calls out the depth. This is also where “sounding” originated and is responsbile for various expressions in the English language such as “deep six” (sounding of 6 fathoms) and “Mark Twain” (for “by the mark, twain” meaning at the mark of two fathoms). Today this has been replaced by “echo sounding” by using sonar to measure ocean depth. Ultrasonic depth sounders provide accurate measure and profiles of the depth of the seabed today.

Log Line or Chip Log
A long line is a line of cordage, unspooled from a reel attached to a chip log that is drug behind a sailing ship. The cordage would have “knots” tield in it that would be used to measure distance and speed of the ship. This consisted of a wooden panel, weighted on one edge to float upright, and thus present substantial resistance to moving with respect the the water around it, attached to the line to a reel. This panel, or chip log, would be tossed overboard from the stern of the vessel while letting the line out. Knots in the line were placed at a distance of 47 feet and three inches (14.4018 meters), and as they passed through a sailor’s fingers, while another sailor used a 30 second sand-glass to time the number of knots passing through the hands in 30 seconds. The log line lead to the derivation of the Old English word “knot” as a measure of speed and distance in nautical miles. A knot is equivalent to the speed of one nautical mile (ca. 1.852 km) per hour or approximately 1.151 miles per hour. This would be used to report and calculate the sailing master’s “dead reckoning” and navigation. The method gives a value for the knot of 20.25 inches a second, or 1.85166 kilometers an hour. When the navigator wished to determine the speed of his vessel, a sailor dropped the log over the stern of the ship. The log would act as a drogue and remain roughly in place while the vessel moved away. The log-line was allowed to run out for a fixed period of time. The speed of the ship was indicated by the length of log-line passing over the stern during that time. This process was believed to have been invented by the Portugese Bartolomeu Crescencio who designed it at the end of the 15th century and was called the “Dutchman’s Log”.

Aboard the Quarter Deck of the HMB Endeavour, which is architecturally based over the original drawings of the HMS Endeavour would be found the Log line and lead line which were used to measure speed, distance, and anchor depth.

The Wheel or Helm, & Tiller, HMB Endeavour
Eagle Pier, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

This article is by Thomas Baurley, volunteer tour guide of the HMB Endeavour while in port at Brisbane, Australia, and crew member during the 2011-2012 circumnavigation of Australia – for the Brisbane to Gladstone leg of the journey (April-May 2011).

For more Information About The Living History Museum on board the replica of the HMS Endeavour –
The HMB Endeavour, while docked in port at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Bibliography/Recommended Reading:

  • Australian National Maritime Museum
    2011: Guide Handbook. ( Issued during HMB Endeavour Around Australia 2011-2012: Voyage of a Lifetime ). ANMM: Sydney, Australia.
  • Macarthur, Antonia

    1998: “His Majesty’s Bark Endeavour: The Story of the ship and her people”. Angus & Robertson/ Harper Collins; ANMM: Sydney, Australia. ISBN: 0207191808.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.

    2011 Website Referenced: ~ “Captain Cook”, “HMB Endeavour”, “HMS Endeavour”, “log line”, “lead line”.

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