Night watches

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Sat 7 Apr 2018 17:17

16:13.6S 94:40.0W

On this voyage, as cold wouldn’t  be an issue, Kath suggested we try a change from our normal three hours on and three hours off through the night and try six hours on and six off. This way we would have a longer period of uninterrupted sleep.

So what do you do for six hours every night? I hear you say. Apart from keeping a watch for other boats, on Aeries keeping us on course and for changes in wind strength that might necessitate reefing?  I think. Sometimes I don’t think ... I just am. One in the eye to Déscartes I suppose. Sometimes I listen to music. I spend time observing the movement of heavens and the rhythms of the moon and the stars that we are only vaguely aware of in our normal lives.

What have I heard?

The wind and the waves.

The satisfying, rhythmic sounds of a well ordered ship under way.

The surging of the bow wave.

Water gurgling down the length of the hull.

Waves breaking astern.

The startling, loud sound of a large fin whale blowing, a mere boat length away in the dark.

The sharp thump as I bang my head on the hatch ... having nodded off.

Never ... a moment of complete silence.

What have I seen?

The bright phosphorescent track of our wake.

Dolphins, like phosphorus clad torpedoes homing in playfully on Caramor’s bow wave.

The thin sliver of a new moon setting orange, soon after the sun.

The Milky Way, so bright you could only be seeing it from an ocean or a desert.

The belt of Orion, ‘the hunter’ touching the western horizon, indicating due west and announcing the end of my watch.

A rising full moon peeking out from behind a low cloud, so bright I thought  I was being illuminated by a ship’s searchlight.

Venus, low in the sky soon after sunset, so large and bright that, not for the first time, I thought it was the masthead light of another yacht.

The dark outline of tradewind clouds, patterning an impossibly bright starlit sky.

Nothing much really.

Post by Franco