Thursday 28th September 22°24'.5N 22°52'.5W I say Phosphorescence, you say Bio-luminescence
Fri 29 Nov 2019 10:05
There are a couple of things about sailing on an ocean which are unexpected and quite beautiful. One is the night sky. Living, as most of us do in built-up areas, we are rarely far enough from light pollution to experience the vastness of the night sky and the tapestry of the heavens - it's no wonder that the ancients pondered on it. There are only 2 times in my life when I remember experiencing anythig like it on land. Once was in South Australia, one evening in a campsite by a lake and the first was in my early 20s when I hitchhiked from Vancouver to Toronto (my last great adventure!), I remember one particular evening outside Thunder Bay in Ontario - I had been waiting by the roadside all day, in the lay-by where the guy with no legs got to on his sponsored walk - some of you will immediately know his name (Terry something, I think?) Some of you will have no idea who I am talking about. Out here on a flat calm ocean as it was night (and looks like it will be again tonight)not only is the blanket above your head, but on a clear night it is all around teh boat. Jeremy and Nicole spent some time yesterday evening trying to work out what the light on the horizon was, there was no boat showing up on AIS - they even put the radar on to ascertain how far away this unidentified vessel was. Eventually they ascertained that the vessel was in fact Venus, just above the horizon. We've been eating up the miles today - engine on all day, it has been sunny and warm. Everyone had showers (phew!) and Chris ran the watermaker - if I ever get a boat (and you should really all try and talk me out of it, because something always breaks and your life becomes not about sailing, but about fixing boats!). But if I ever do - it's a fabulous gadget - what alchemy is this that makes fresh water from the sea! I don't know why I should care - with no hair I have perfected the 40 second shower, but that might not suit the more hirsuit amongst you - still no hairdryers though!
The other fabulous discovery which I don't recall even knowing abouot before my first ocean sailing experienceing is the phenomenonwhich I have come to know as phosphorescence. I have been reliably informed that it is actually caused by bio-luminescence where small, presumably microscopic sea life light up. Sitting at the back of the boat on watch, you can see a thousands of tiny pin point lights like little white LEDs trailing behind the boat as it carves through the ocean. As you watch the trail there is an occassional larger explosion of light about the size of a jellyfish (maybe they're jellyfish). I don't know if they are "activated" by the proximity of the boat in some way or whether they are constantly lit ( the jellyfish definitely aren't permanatly lit). I simply don't know and as we previously established my good friend google couldn't make the trip. I don't know much, but I am surprised that this one has thus far escaped me. If anyone is better informed I expect a synopsis on my desk for my arrival into St Lucia.
Finally I had a really special moment when I went to the loo last night...wait for it...I flushed the heads (that's the toilet to you landlubbers), the light was off and the bol lit up as I had obviously pumped in one of the critters, the loo being flushed with seawater. You'll find me going for a pee in the dark from now on!
Skipper Chris' Blog is on the main ARC website
Coder Chicken for dinner tonight!