Go West When The Butter Melts Heading South


Sometimes in the course of writing about open water swimming, we stumble across fascinating trivia about the mariners of yesteryear.

After centuries of travel across the world’s oceans, the mariners learned not only how to survive, but also how to travel most effectively. The Polynesians did it across the South Pacific to Hawaii while the sailors in the Atlantic did it as the Old World sailors navigated westward to the New World of the Americas.

Jennifer Figge (on left) gives an example of how sailing the Atlantic has come a long way.

They used to sail south along the African coast until the butter would melt. At that point, sailors would head west for the Caribbean. Now everything is computerized, but the butter still melts here at 16º latitude.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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