Pat Shingleton: "The Tempest, The Dog Star..."
Nine ships carrying 500 colonists from England to Virginia experienced a hurricane near Bermuda on July 24, 1609. Seven ships made it to Jamestown but the flagship, Sea Venture, did not and was believed to be lost, including the governor of Virginia, Sir Thomas Gates. The colonists accepted the tragedy and set about the work of building their new home. Surprisingly, on May 23, 1610 the passengers of the Sea-Venture arrived in Jamestown on two small pinnaces. Their ship ran aground near Bermuda, that sailors referred to as the “Ile of Divels” and stayed there for nine months building two small ships. In 1611 an English playwright read an account of the miraculous shipwreck incorporating it into his last complete play, The Tempest. Another item...Canis Major or Sirius was designated the “Dog Star” by ancient astronomers. Romans believed that Sirius rose before or at sunrise, convinced this star was the cause of hot, sultry weather. To appease the rage of Sirius and believing that the star caused the pattern, they sacrificed a brown dog, thus the reference – Dog Days. Ancient Rome catalogued the Dog Days from July 24 through August 24 and The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional timing as the 40 days from July 3 to August 11. Since June 20, the sun has reached its highest point and slowly begins its track toward the equator. We recorded record highs on June 25th and 26th when the mercury climbed to 101 degrees.
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