From the corner of my eye, a bright white light hits the water and cuts sharply through the dark night. Is it a boat? A lighthouse on a nearby island? After a quick look I realize it’s a star twinkling off the water, rather, many of them, and I stand up to take in the scene. In utter disbelief, I almost can’t believe what I’m seeing. The ocean is so glassy, and the sky so clear, that the stars are reflecting off the water all around me. Seemingly filling the ocean with glitter.
With no wind, Yahtzee slips over a completely smooth sea of constellations and planets. So smooth, in fact, that I can’t differentiate between where the sky ends and the ocean begins. In an almost flawless connection between the two, it’s like there is no horizon at all. Only a stream of phosphorescence as our wake ripples through the stars, like a comet cutting through the sky.
Sitting down, I arch my head back and gaze aloft. The moon has set, leaving a countless array of stars spread out above us like a planetarium. Unmistakably, the bright white of the Milky Way sprawls out across the night sky. Swiveling my head around, I pick out familiar stars and constellations: there’s Orion with the orange-hued star Betelgeuse at his armpit and his prominent belt underneath, trailed by his trusty companion the dog star, the brightest of them all, Sirius. As always, they’re hunting Taurus, the Bull. Above them sits Gemini, the “twins” Castor and Pollux. And to the opposite end of the night sky rests the familiar shape of the Big Dipper, Ursa Major, the Great Bear, cocked nearly upside down. From there I pick out the North Star, Polaris, a reliable guiding light pointing to true north.
All these navigational aids and stories sprawling across the sky are a humbling reminder of how small I truly am, how small we all are. Down below, Jill and the boys sleep soundly, and beneath Yahtzee, the ocean floor dives to over two-thousand feet deep — an immense distance and space to comprehend when coupled with the stars above. Sitting in awe, I count this as yet another incredible experience at night on the ocean, one that I feel immensely fortunate and thankful to be apart of.
Whether sailing fast on a roiling sea through an inky black night or motoring along on the calmest of evenings under the stars, there’s a magic to being underway after sunset that is powerfully seductive. It could be rough and windy with no moon or stars to light the way, or — like this night — completely still yet fully alive in an other-worldly cosmic display that almost defies belief. All of it captivates the senses and gets etched into my sailor soul. I guess that’s why we’re out here, there’s truly no other way to make moments like these happen.
Editor’s Note: Apologies for the Spam posts recently sent from this blog. I’ve removed them and hope it won’t happen in the future.