Sailing Through the Trade Winds

Passage Notes (continued)

Marcie lounging in the cockpit at sunset.   The sunset where Marcie saw a green flash.

The late afternoon was nearly cloudless and the air was crisp and clean. The wind and seas moderated, although we could unreef the jib to keep our speed up. The overall conditions made for a very pleasant sail and everybody was enjoying themselves. To make it an even better afternoon, David was making pizza for dinner, which is a cause for great anticipation. He managed to finish early so we ate topsides before sundown.

The sky was so clear we remarked that it would be a good day to watch for a green flash. Every other day, bar none, there was either a band of clouds at the horizon or just the general murk and haze that seems to accumulate at the horizon. When watching previous sunsets, we never were able to see a sharply defined sun drop below the actual horizon. Instead, as the sun descended towards the horizon, it would disappear into the murk or behind clouds. This day, we were all watching; Marcie was using binoculars and I had my camera ready. As the last bit of sun sank beneath the waves, Marcie called out that she saw the green flash. I didn't manage to see it, and unfortunately my camera was pointing off to the side (it was zoomed to the max and I wasn't using the viewfinder). It was a beautiful sunset, nevertheless.

The moon was just about full, and as the sun was descending, a bright and vividly clear moon was rising in opposition. After sunset, there was a beautiful band of blue and pink sky below the moon, colors of the Earth's shadow. Tomorrow evening, weather permitting, there should be an even nicer moonrise.

As the sun was setting, the moon was rising. I took the right-hand picture 20 minutes after the left-hand picture.

The dusky violet remains of a beautiful sunset.  

After dinner, I went below to the saloon and read a book until my night watch. I noticed what a very pleasant evening it was, all around. I was comfortable in the saloon, and the boat's motion was easy and gentle. I could hear the boat rhythmically creaking as it worked itself over the regular swell. A few items clunked or clinked in the galley. I could hear water gurgling past the hull, just inches away. Filtering down from topsides, I could hear the hissing of the bow wave and the boat's wake, synchronized with the sound from below of the boat creaking. I could look up into the cockpit and see the deep violet-blue of the dusky evening sky, and I could hear Marcie in the cockpit idly singing "My Favorite Things." It was one of those magic moments when all the details came together so pleasantly (to a point, or tee) that it prompted my subconscious mind to recognize a very satisfying and pleasant moment.

That night on my night watch the moon was extra bright and intensely vivid, with every detail brilliant and crisply executed. Later, clouds appeared and filtered the moonlight, producing dark brooding cloud shadows that sailed across the glistening moonlit sea. When the shadows got close to the boat, they looked eerie and sinister, great voids of blackness that obliterated all detail. With such a bright moon, the sky had a hint of blueness to it but was basically dark gray. The clouds were pale mottled shapeless blobs on the deep gray sky, appearing ghostlike and luminous from the transmitted moonlight. Leading from the moon to the boat there was a wide silvery path of moonlight glittering on the water; the pattern of light endlessly slithered and wiggled on the busy surface of the water.

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