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Impressive circumnavigation remembered

Jan 26, 2016
Former geography professor Marvin Creamer and the

Former geography professor Marvin Creamer and the "Endeavor" monument at Rowan University in New Jersey.

Courtesy Marvin Creamer

When it comes to historic circumnavigations, most mariners are aware of voyages by Magellan (his fleet made it all the way around even if his journey ended in the Philippines), Joshua Slocum, Bernard Moitissier, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Dodge Morgan. Unfortunately, not as many are aware of another historic circumnavigation: that of Marvin Creamer in 1982 aboard his 36-foot cutter, Globe Star. Creamer, a longtime sailor and geography professor at Glassboro State College (now called Rowan University) in New Jersey, made the trip at age 67 without the use of any instruments — no sextant, no watch, he didn't even use a compass. 

Creamer navigated on his circumnavigation using zenith stars at night, sun direction and wind direction during the day, plus a number of other savvy navigational tricks. An astounding feat, Creamer studied pre-industrial navigation methods, weather records and other data to assemble a background of knowledge that allowed him to make the journey. He returned to Cape May, New Jersey on May 18, 1984 — 510 days after departing. 

These days, Creamer is 100 years old (on January 24) and still going strong in Pine Knoll Shores, N.C. As reported in the local newspaper, The Shoreline, Creamer still splits his own firewood and mows his own lawn. Last fall, Creamer was honored at Rowan University where a monument was unveiled to commemorate his impressive voyage. At the center of the monument, named "Endeavor", is a pole that signifies the mast on Globe Star. Directional signs on the pole indicate various destinations around the world, from Moscow to Rome to Sydney. The monument helps students and visitors to learn from Creamer's amazing geographic knowledge. Check out the Globe Star site here. 

Edit Module

Jul 1, 2016 04:47 pm
 Posted by  Kathleen S.

Hi Tim,
Is there a way to contact Marvin these days? In 1984 - 1985, my late husband, Curt Saville and I rowed across the South Pacific Ocean. When Curt fell overboard and lost the sextant and after I got him back onboard, we contacted Marvin via our ham radio for his advice on how to navigate without a sextant. We had met him the year before at a boat show and thought we'd be able to navigate albeit without a sextant using the stars as he had in his round the world sails. His advice worked! We row for kappa Orionus in Orion because it transited the night sky above Hiva Oa island in the Marquesas Islands which was our destination. It took over 60 days to reach the Marquesas as we eventually reached Ua Pou island instead of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. Marvin was a great hero for us.
I hope it is still possible to contact Marvin.
Best regards,
Kathleen Saville

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