Day 13: Multitasking at sea - the sky

S/Y Cherish
Peter Gray
Sun 4 Dec 2016 15:37

The thing with the boat is it never stops. Someone is always at the helm and all other activities revolve around that. Although we have an electronic autopilot, we choose to to use under sail, because: (a) it uses a lot of energy from our limited battery reserves and (b) our sailing is downwind - almost precisely with the wind behind us - and the autopilot struggles to hold an accurate course in the 1 - 3 metre ocean swell we are in. We congregate as a group as much as possible and always eat together with someone stepping in for the helm when they have finished. Meals are in plastic bowls with a spoon usually. They always look appetising and taste yummy. L-R Will (half of!), Ali, Sven, Chris, Anthony.

We wish we could share the night sky sights with you, but our cameras aren’t up to the challenge. For anyone who had never seen the night sky with no atmospheric or light pollution, it is a breathtaking sight - just too much to absorb. And with only the sea in all directions as the horizon, we get the full 180 degree view. Moving steadily south, we have watched the crescent moon gradually recline from the familiar (to those in NW Europe) semi-recumbent position to a horizontal smiley face. Beautiful though it she is, we have been pleased when she sets, so that we can enjoy the splendour of the stars. According a pre-departure seminar on the subject, we could see something like 5,500 celestial objects at any one time, without counting the man-made ones. The space station overflew us, going quite slowly - it was a large and impressive sight. More thought provoking, however, was that the people on board were at the time the closest human beings to us, on board Cherish. Makes you think…….

What we can share with you, however, are the sunrises and sunsets. These rarely fail to disappoint, although to be honest, we are more discerning about what we choose to photograph (and how much) now, after two weeks at sea, than at the outset. Here’s a selection: