Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Night-Watch

Happy Birthday Mary! A role model to me in so many ways. Thank you for passing on your love of Irish music, for teaching me to dance, and inspiring me with your courage, style and love!!!!

We all take turns at night, scanning for ships and making sure that our boat stays on track. Eve (the wind-guided auto-pilot) does most of the work, but we check the compass and keep a careful eye on the horizon. My watch is from 9:00 p.m. until midnight. At first the time went by slowly, but then I really started to enjoy these peaceful hours. Sometimes, on rougher nights, the night watch means balancing with all my might on the seat of the pilot-house, bracing upright with my toes to keep from flying over and landing on Josje asleep in her bunk. At other times, however, when we are gliding over smooth swells at an easy 2 knots, I like to lie outside in the cockpit and look up at the night sky in between scans. It has an unreal feel to it (like Life of Pi, but without the grisly). Constant twinkles and star-sprays of bioluminescence spark off the bough waves. Without light pollution, the night sky is so brilliant that it looks like someone spilled the star bucket all over it. Even the most obvious constellations become lost in the blanket-mass of glowing stars overhead. The only sounds are the groaning wood, the humming of lines and the occasional flutter of the sails.

PS. Today we saw Jumping Fish. These little critters hop out of the water for a second before landing. They are different from the sleek, far-sailing Flying Fish, which we find dead on the deck in the morning.

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