San Francisco to Australia
Dr. Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. In addition to his writings, his inventions and experiments with electricity, Franklin was an early oceanographer. As Deputy Postmaster, Franklin became interested in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns. In 1768, while in England, the Colonial Board of Customs asked Franklin why it would take British mail ships several weeks longer to reach New York than it took an average merchant ship to reach Newport, Rhode Island despite having a more complex voyage departing from London. Turning to his cousin, Timothy Folger, a Nantucket whaler captain, Franklin learned merchant ships avoided a strong eastbound mid-ocean current while the mail packet captains sailed into it, thus fighting an adverse current of 3 miles per hour (5km/h). Franklin worked with Folger and other experienced ship captains, to chart the current and name it the Gulf Stream, by which it is still known today.