Universe for dummies

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Fri 24 May 2013 21:47
-Did you know that Mirphac (a star) is 506,5 light years away?
-No, I actually thought it was only 470...
Last night I looked at the stars and with the  help of Starwalk, an app that gives away the constellations and the stars themselves. If you haven't tried it, it is amazing, you look at the star of wich you want to know the name , with the iPad in betwwen you and the sky.
As you turn or tilt the picture changes, just like a window. The GPS in the iPad knows exactly where I am and the compass knows where Im pointing.
Well doing this I learn about new pictures in the sky, there is one called Vela, a constellation that is supposed to look like a sail.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of drugs the astronomers used, because I can decide wich stars I want to connect and then name it.
Like the Small Dog, I cannot see a dog for my life. Now that was not what this was all about...
Taking time to look at the sky is strange, I think most of us just give it a brief look, some excitement about recognising a well known pattern (Karlavagnen) or just hoping to see a star falling.
But we do not truly encounter or experience the reality of 506,5 light years away, no wonder, our brain is not made to grasp that.
Today we have been busy with all kind off stuff on board, Ellinor and I had a good night so the boat is bursting with activity.
Erika making schoolwork Andreas found out how you can use a screw driver (my fault!).
As I changed bait on the trolling line (we do not seem to get any fish on yellow/blue/green squid so lets try pink...)
I looked at the sea and asked myself; do we look upon it as we look at the sky?
Do we try to live on this little spaceship without really wanting to grasp how far out we are at sea?
First time I experienced such a vast amount of water was in the Atlantic, I could simply not believe we where sailing and sailing for days and weeks without getting anywhere but a change of the coordinates on a big paper chart. The waves looked almost the same, sometimes bigger, sometimes nastier, but there was no end to it.
This time I think Im coping with it like we cope with the universe. Why bother?
It takes the time it takes and as long we are fine, the universe is fine.
Look at the kids, they do not look out and count the waves, they will only come out for a dolphin or a whale, like when we look for a star falling, an event that makes us feel special. But other than that their universe is the boat.
I thought I was going to sit and watch the sea for hours, but that is just as boring as watching the sky for hours.
The sea becomes more interesting when it crashes on the shores of France or a small rock in Galapagos, thats when I can attach it to something.
Tonight is the full moon, watch it and try to grasp that it is only 384 400km away from us...
So whats happening on planet Salsa?
Ellinor found bugs in some packages of rice so now there is a big inventory thoughout the ship.
We are sailing direct westward and the sails are goosenecked (One sail pointing to port and one to starboard)
Last 24 hours where slow, about 156 nM but we went for comfort.
Other boats ahead of us are having more problems than usual, one is jury rigged (they lost their mast and they make a new rig with whatever they have), they describe themselves on the radio as looking like Kon-Tiki, and that is maybe suitable coming to Hiva Hua.
Some boats nearby will try to unload diesel to them so they can run the engine to Hiva Hoa.
Another boat lost their baby stay, but they have their mast still up and are able to sail slowly but safe.
One boat lost their Autopilot and have only that so they will hand steer for 3 weeks.
So as we live on planet Salsa, we do like the rest of the world is doing, living on a planet and hoping for the best....