COMPASS SKILL


If you have an analog wristwatch, you can use the time to find north.  Hold your watch up in front of you, and let the short hand, red on the figure, that indicates hours point at the sun.  While holding it like this, cut the angle between the red arrow and 12 o'clock in two, (noonwards if the time is before 6am or after 6pm), that way is south.  (The reason you need to cut it in two, is because the clock takes two rotations while the sun takes one, around the earth, it is of course the other way around, but never mind.)

 

Many people wear digital watches these days (I do myself, if I wear one at all).  If you do, draw an analog watch face on a piece of paper, and then mark the hour hand on, using the digital watch.  The rest of the method is identical.

 

This method can be used even when it is pretty foggy. Although you may not be able to see the sun, it may still cast a shadow.  If you take up a straw or a tiny stick, you may see a shadow.  You just have to remember that the shadow points the opposite way from the sun, but the rest of it is quite similar as above.

 

Want to make your own compass?  Sure. You need a needle and a glass of water. A needle can in fact float on the water, or that is, on the surface.  It is the tension that forces it. Just put it carefully down on the surface of the water. This demands a lot of patience though.  There are three tricks that make it go easier.  One: Put the needle on a piece of paper. If the paper floats too, there is no problem, and if the paper sinks, it'll probably leave the needle.  If you put some grease on the needle that isn't water-based, it'll go easier, or if you put it carefully down with a fork or something. Once it is there, it stays there pretty good.

 

If the needle is magnetic, it will act as a normal compass and be very accurate.  The problem is though, that you don't know north from south.  All you know is that it lies north south.  You would have to use one of the other techniques to find out, or take a good guess.

 

The greatest problem with this is: Not many needles are made of magnetic materials these days.  You can't just use any needle.  You may just have to look around to see what you can find, if you want to make yourself a compass.

What if there is no shadow?  Then, there are a few methods based on natural signs. I will deal with the ones I have checked myself.