Nearly East, Not West
Thu 30 Oct 2014 22:22
Despite the chug of the engine and the whine of the engine fan, it's been peaceful. The wind died to nothing, the swell evened out and we bobbed along through the night, whistling for the wind in vain. I've been lucky: I was on watch when the sun went down, when the moon set and when the sun rose again. The colours are astounding, flooding this huge dome we're back in the middle of. There are many forms of natural beauty on this earth: trees against the sky; fields and woodlands stretching out below you when you're stood on the top of a hill; the exquisite brightness of a flower; the flash of iridescence that's a bird passing by... So many things we can see that make your heart lift and swell. But these skies at sea, with no land in sight, will stay with me all my life.
As the segment of moon set it turned orange then blood red before dipping it's toe into the sea. The water must have been cold because it seemed to pause there a moment before gathering it's courage and plunging in, the water extinguishing it's light in a rush, letting stars pop out all over the sky. First the bright ones made themselves seen then, in a matter of moments, the heavens were awash with freckles and speckles and swirls of stardust.
We've come a long way. In less than an hour we'll be motor sailing our way from the West to the East. We'll have reached 180 degrees from Greenwich, we'll measure our passages by our longitude decreasing instead of increasing, East from Greenwich instead of West. We don't travel fast: mostly push bike speeds, at the moment, walking speeds. Doing that has given me a sense of scale that I've never had before. I knew how far it was to run 15 miles, walk 25 miles, cycle 50 miles. But now I can feel how big the world is.
We've come a long way.
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