Celestial navigation rock star

David Berson, who writes our celestial navigation problems, lives in Greenport, N.Y., and operates the electric launch Glory, recently wrote an encounter he had with a reader:

I’m standing in Preston’s, the venerable ships chandlery, in Greenport, New York, and across the counter a fellow is holding a Nautical Almanac in his hands. “Pardon,†I ask, “What is that book you are holding?”

“It’s the Nautical Almanac,” he answered. “I use it for celestial navigation. Do you know anything about the subject?”

My chest swells, and my posture gets straighter, “Well it happens that I write the celestial navigation problems for Ocean Navigator.” Usually when I say that the reaction is one of bewilderment and complete silence. But I knew I was in the presence of a fellow traveler.

“Honey, honey,” he yells excitedly to woman bending over a pair of shoes at the rear of the store. She doesn’t even look up. “Honey this is, you know, what’s his name, who writes the celestial navigation problems in the magazine.” She looks up giving him a gentle smile as if she was already used to his outbursts. “That’s nice,” and goes back to her shoes.

He comes over to me and shakes my hand introducing himself. We chat about local hour angle and the advantages of using HO 249 as if this is the most normal conversation in the world. His wife has bought the pair of shoes and is ready to leave. My new friend shyly hands me his new Nautical Almanac. I look confused.

“Can you autograph it?” he asks.

Well I’ll tell you for that moment in time I was a rock star on tour after the concert, with the fans thronging backstage. I felt validated, acknowledged, worthy and worthwhile. So in the beginning of the book under the page of altitude corrections, I immortalized myself by writing the following: “Best wishes from Cap’n Dave.”  

By Ocean Navigator