When Alan Villiers sailed out of Auckland aboard the Joseph Conrad in 1936 bound for New York, he had a new first mate aboard named Alan Chapman. Alan’s son Alan, another mariner, recently donated his father’s personal journal of that voyage. The elder Chapman’s journal is much more than just latitude, longitude, speed and wind direction. It is full of information about daily life aboard the ship. There are weeks where there are no entries, then he fills the next pages to capacity.
The image above is a detail from one page as they are crossing, as Alan says, “At approximately 10 p.m. we crossed from East longitude into West and so have again Friday tomorrow.” As you can see in the image, his location prior to that statement shows them at 178 degrees 48 minutes East, soon to cross the 180 degree mark.