Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hilo Latitude -- No Attitude

We had a visitor last night from the mainland, a fellow ceramic artist friend of my wife's (East Bay Potter), who actually lives full time on a sailboat in Richmond, California across the bay from San Francisco. We started speculating over some red wine where you would end up if you sailed east or west from Hilo.

I did some research today and learned some wild geography.

Hilo Hawaii is located roughly at 19.7 degrees north of the equator.

Going east we would hit the Mexican city of Manzanillo, its busiest port and located about equidistant between Puerto Vallarta to the north and Acapulco to the south. Manzanillo is also a beach resort and host of a yearly sailfish fishing tournament. Weirdly, the city claims to be also well known for the green flash phenomenon during its sunsets, something I’ve tried to see about a hundred times and was beginning to think was a myth.

Continuing east from Manzanillo at about the same latitude is Vera Cruz, a major port city on the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico’s second largest city. During the Mexican-American war, US forces led by General Winfield Scott took the city on March 29, 1846 after a lengthy siege.

Going west is even more fantastic because we run into "the Oriental Hawaii," which is surprisingly (at least to me), part of China! The “Oriental Hawaii” is an island named Hainan which is the smallest land province in China and located at its southern end. The island has a population of over seven million! According to, “its natural beauty has gained a good reputation among the visitors and has been widely known around the world.”

Its capital city is Haikou, situated at the north end of Hainan Island, and it is the largest city on the island, located between 19.6 - 20.1 north latitude.

Continuing west across the Gulf of Tonkin, which is utterly evocative of the Vietnam War for most baby boomers, is Thanh Hóa, the capital city of Thanh Hóa Province, a city of nearly 200,000. The
city is located about 85 miles south of Hanoi and considered to be a growing trade and industrial center.

During the Vietnam War US strategic bombing destroyed much of the buildings and infrastructure, the whole city has been totally rebuilt since then.

So who knew? I realize Americans are famous for their lack of knowledge about other countries but this was all quite new to me (and I even know that Tasmania is not a country in Africa). Also on Hilo’s latitude is Mumbai (Bombay) or should I say that we are on theirs
? Aloha.


  1. Nice site here Wes and so well done. I'm pasteing you in my brosser

    The Lack

  2. Mahalo for your comment Tom. It must be your nautical background! Keep up the great cartoons, too.

  3. Wes - your post sparked my navigational interest. Bravo zulu and mahalo for your research.

    19.7 degrees N. - well within the Tropic of Cancer, and only 19.7 degrees from all Hilo dwellers qualifying as Shellbacks should they venture into the Domain of Neptunus Rex, Ruler of the Raging Main, as the Equator is known in maritime parlance.

    -155.09 deg. W, Hilo's longitude is 24.9 deg. from the 180th Meridian, aka the Realm of the Golden Dragon.

    Cross both of those lines on the chart at the same time, one would be afforded all of the due respect and privilege of a Golden Shellback.

    I will go now and see what lies along the -155th longitude. Gut feeling tells me somewhere in Alaska, for one.

  4. Mahalo Sam. I'd like to know what's north and south of us, as well.


Mahalo for leaving a comment!~WesIsland