Sat 26 May 2012 16:33
A Wild Night
The dome of the heavens totally obscured by cloud, no glint of light beyond the wake of our little boat, save now for the faintest glow that edges its way through that distant slot between sea and sky. It clumsily emerges into view likea tax bill coming through the letter box at home - you know soon enough it will land with a splat on your doormat.
The boat is washed from stem to stern by breaking waves - the lonely watch keeper huddles his head beneath the spray hood canopy, keeping his head dry if he can. The rig creaks in a force 7 wind, a small piece of the Genoa freed from its roll to keep our heading and two reefs in the main. The wind gusts to 40 knots and the boat sits up further, alert to the change.
Over the next 20 minutes that tiny dim cluster of lights on the horizon stretches and intensifies, crystallising into a brilliant mast head star of dazzling intensity, followed on a taut tether by another on the bridge, a Castor to its Pollux and now quite clearly the ruby red port hand beacon below and the faint glow of the working lights and instruments on the bridge. The vessel passes us to port about a mile and a half off. I imagine the captain standing on his bridge and looking out to me in the darkness, looking back to him and wondering what he is thinking.
Moments later his vessel is passing abeam of us on a heading to I wonder where and already my interest in her is waning. Thoughts about what and who she is carrying fade into the darkness. Next time I glance at her her stern light is blinking behind us. Our study little sail drawn boat continues on its way shrugging off the waves she passes.