27:56.66S 178:59.84E

Sat 16 Jun 2018 22:05

From Sunset to Sunrise

From the 16th to 17th June 2018

27:56.66S 178:59.84E

A Cruisers’ Gift is to see the sun actually move below the uncluttered horizon. Zoonie was bang on course with no resistance from the waves to her 1500rpm movement through the water at twice the speed one can walk.

She is speeded up a little and slowed down by the coming and going of the tide/current. A fingernail moon and its friend, Saturn reflect on the silken water. Rarely have we seen the perfect sunset with no clouds to dim the beauty. As soon as it had gone fog patches rolled in from the east and south, the closing of stage curtains.

Then the moon and his friend run hand in hand after the sun on a similar path like children following a parent home across fields. To be so close together we must be in Spring tide range as they combine to pull the oceans the same one way together. Indeed we are as a check of the Tide Tables for Marsden Cove confirms.

We are the fortunate witnesses to far greater things than earthly concerns. Above us the Milky Way spans the celestial sphere. The stars and planets suspended at an altitude of around 20’ above us and the horizon cast shimmering silver reflections of their own reflected light beckoning across the water to us. Those high above pinprick the ocean with a negative of themselves and those on or near the horizon make it difficult to distinguish them from ships.

Mars, red of his own accord, walks ponderously from East to West and a solitary speeding satellite travelling from NW to SE restores my faith in on board communications, maybe I will be able to send you some photos soon.

But here is one photo I cannot send as a camera could not do it justice; the human eye is sometimes better than the camera lens as it tunes in to the subject using the added advantage of a brain. Sitting on the cockpit seat with my arms on the coaming I stare down at the wash Zoonie is sending from her side. Like a virgin bride she is pulling a gossamer veil studded with millions of tiny phosphorescent sparkling diamonds across an ebony black star studded carpet that covers the immense depths below, around 4000mtrs. Of the Fiji Basin.

I was on watch from 22.00hrs to 01.00hrs when I wrote the aforementioned in my notebook.

When I came on again at 04.00hrs the intensity of the night sky was at its most complete. Three satellites arced across the sky and many more sat stationary, glittering like wealthy wives at a charity gala. Around 5.00ish the early dawn filled the eastern sky with primrose yellow and spread banana skin down its reflections on the sea surface. Would it be a cloudless sunrise as well? There was a narrow layer of broken cloud in the way which in the end added to the sense of anticipation and drama. Camera and I waited.

Bright flashes of stationary light, some big and worrying (would I hear of a plane crash in the area?) took my attention for a while. They may have been a meteor shower although I have never seen one so cannot say for sure. One low level plane flashing red was on route probably from Tonga to Auckland.

Where stage performers love an encore after their performance the sun on this morning demanded it before. We waited and waited, like fans at a concert for the Star’s arrival which emerged in a mass of flaming orange. Its body was dressed in brilliant palest yellow as it rose slowly and then disappeared behind the clouds. This time it sent rays of light above it to herald its second emergence and once that was done everything settled down for the performance.

Our fear of the Low at the outset has become a calm anticipation with the hope we can use the wind we get. We should be well to the north of its track. As I write this at 09.22 on Sunday morning we have 278 miles to go to Minerva and at 135 miles covered in a 24 hour period that should get us in early afternoon on Tuesday, but we shall see.

The prop shaft noise has gone. Rob has just topped up the main fuel tank from the cans (80ltrs) giving us 17 inches left in the tank out of 21 inches at the outset. We have so far done 82 hours under motor or 164ltrs max, and probably a lot less in fuel. We’d rather spend out on fuel than gear repair.