Monday, January 13, 2020

Jaredites Crossed the Pacific

There has been a difference of opinion among Book of Mormon geographers about the Jaredite voyage - did the eight barges cross the Atlantic or the Pacific? In his 1985 An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, John L. Sorenson proposed a Pacific crossing. Then, in his 2013 Mormon's Codex: An Ancient American Book, John changed his mind and argued for an Atlantic crossing. Data is now available which allows us to definitively settle the question. The Jaredites crossed the Pacific. Ether 6:11 tells us the Jaredites were 344 days at sea. That number works well in the Pacific. Recently-analyzed data shows it to be illogical and unattainable in the Atlantic. 

In the 2014 blog article Test #6 Relative Distances, I introduced the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) at the University of Hawaii and their drift model that monitors debris floating from Asia to the Americas across the North Pacific. It turns out that 344 days for barges riding high enough in the water to catch some wind Ether 6:8 is right in the expected range the drift model would predict. My 2017 blog article Tracking the Jaredites gave additional details supporting a Jaredite Pacific crossing.

On December 31, 2019, the ship Phoenicia landed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic after a 39 day North Atlantic passage from Amarilla, Tenerife, Canary Islands. My friend, Boyd Tuttle, was aboard the Phoenicia on the first leg of its voyage from Tunis, Tunisia to Cádiz, Spain. You can learn more about this replica Phoenician ship and its fascinating mission to prove the Phoenicians could have reached the Americas at the website "Phoenicians Before Columbus Expedition." For our present purpose, it is sufficient to note that the Phoenicia crossed the Atlantic under sail in 39 days.
Phoenicia, Modern Replica of Ancient Phoenician Sailing Vessel
On July 18, 1969, Thor Heyerdahl's reed boat Ra foundered in the Atlantic about one week short of its intended destination, Barbados. The replica of an ancient Egyptian vessel sailed 2,662 miles from Safi, Morocco in 54 days. Heyerdahl was trying to demonstrate that the ancient Egyptians could have reached the Americas. Ra was built by Egyptians in the Nile delta.

On July 12, 1970, Heyerdahl's second reed boat, Ra II, built by Andean craftsmen on Lake Titicaca, landed in Barbados after a 57 day, 3,270 mile voyage from Safi, Morocco.
Thor Heyerdahl and Ra II Preparing to Leave Morocco in 1970
Columbus made four voyages across the Atlantic. His first, in 1492, sailed from Palos de la Frontera, Spain to the Bahamas in 61 days which included a stopover in the Canaries. His second, in 1493, sailed from Cádiz, Spain to Dominica in 41 days. His third, in 1498, sailed from Sanlucar, Spain to Trinidad in 62 days which included stopovers in both the Canaries and Cape Verde. His fourth, in 1502, sailed from Cádiz, Spain to Martinique in 35 days. The 4th voyage left Gran Canaria on May 25, 1502 and landed in Martinique on June 15. That's a mere 20 days across the Atlantic.

This is a map showing the seven voyages.
Columbus (4), Heyerdahl (2) and Phoenicia Expeditions
These seven transatlantic crossings were all done under sail. Elapsed times were 35, 39, 41, 54, 57, 61, and 62 days, some of which included stopovers in the Canary and Cape Verde Islands.

The Jaredite barges did not have masts and sails. They were completely at the mercy of ocean currents and surface winds. There is a class of ocean-going vessels that drift across the Atlantic propelled only by a human rowing with oars. Elite athletes compete to see who can cross the ocean in the shortest time with the winners published in the Guinness Book of World Records. The adjudicating body for this sport is the Ocean Rowing Society International. The Ocean Rowing Society recognizes 93 successful solo rows from 1969 to 2019. This is the data. As with all images on this blog, click to enlarge.
Successful Solo Rows Across the Atlantic Part 1 of 3
Spreadsheet row 12 is of particular interest. This is my friend, Latter-day Saint Richard Jones, whose boat was named "Brother of Jared."
Successful Solo Rows Across the Atlantic Part 2 of 3
Spreadsheet row 78 shows the current world champion. He solo rowed across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Antigua in 34 days.
Successful Solo Rows Across the Atlantic Part 3 of 3
The longest solo row, 224 days, started in Genoa, Italy and went through the Mediterranean past the Straits of Gibraltar all the way to Fortaleza, Brazil, a 5,000 mile trip with an average speed of 22 miles per day. The second longest solo row, 180 days, started in the Canary Islands and went 3,940 miles to Hollywood Beach, Florida at an average speed of 22 miles per day. The shortest solo row, 34 days, started in the Canary Islands and went 2,934 miles to Antigua at an average speed of 86 miles per day. The second shortest solo row, 35 days, started in the Canary Islands and went 2,921 miles to Barbados at an average speed of 83 miles per day. The mean voyage went 3,128 miles in 78 days for an average speed of 40 miles per day. The median voyage went 3,000 miles in 73 days for an average speed of 41 miles per day.
Richard Jones in His High-Tech Brother of Jared in the Year 2000
This map shows all 93 solo rows across the Atlantic recognized by the Ocean Rowing Society.
93 Solo Rows Across the Atlantic 1969 - 2019
The Jaredite 344 day ocean crossing does not fit in the Atlantic. None of the 7 sailing or 93 solo rowing voyages discussed in this article took anywhere near that long. If the Jaredites went at the slowest speed documented in this article, 22 miles per day, 344 days would have taken them 7,568 miles. The Atlantic Ocean is not anywhere near that wide. Most of the 100 voyages described in this article crossed the Atlantic in 2,900 to 3,300 miles.

On the other hand, if the Jaredite voyage looked like this:
Proposed Jaredite Transpacific Voyage from China to Mexico
Then the Jaredites traveled 8,762 miles in 344 days at an average speed of 25 miles per day which is consistent with known historical crossings and just what the University of Hawaii drift model would lead us to expect.