Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dancing on the Blue Marble

This is an experience that you would struggle to be cynical about.

What should we agree to call this shade of blue that surrounds Galactic, the same blue that dominates the view of the earth from space?

Miracle Blue, I think.

Very different from the turquoise shades that come springing alive from the surface of tropical atoll water over a sand bottom on a calm day. That kind of blue is splendid, though somewhat precious for being restricted to the vanishingly small extent of atolls on the surface of the globe.

This Miracle Blue that is all around us is also all around the earth, existing anywhere on the deep tropical ocean where the sun is shining. It is therefore an essential color, widespread enough to be a fundamental descriptor of this terraqueous home of ours. And a delight besides to stare at from the shade of our dodger as Galactic dances along.

The clouds around us are doing their best not to be outclassed, showing off that particular tradewind configuration of being fluffy on top with table-flat undersides that march off the curve of the earth as they retreat to the horizon.

We made 178 nautical miles, noon to noon, over the last 24 hours. Nothing world-beating. Just splendid sailing, comfortable enough in spite of the inevitable roll of being downwind in a breeze. Reefed main, rolled-up jib at about 100% of foretriangle area, which is all we can muster wing and wing with our collapsed whisker pole.

The flying fish have been generous with themselves, unwittingly. I hear them flapping on deck in the night and throw them back minus a handful of their scales but even so there were enough on deck this morning stiff and dead to justify the effort for lunch. Bony little things though. Unfortunately the great shearwaters are always around and take an unhealthy interest in our lures. We have a well-developed revulsion towards catching a bird and so have been laying off the tuna fishing.

The waves rear up behind us like hillsides leading to upland country where there might be something interesting to see. The waves collapse around us in flashes of white foam, like handkerchiefs waving from a cloud.

Last night, after a week or ten days without a ship, we had two of them. In the wee hours, and one of them quite close on an opposing and quickly converging course. I had stayed up too late and it was two in the morning and I couldn't make sense of it. I could see their red light which meant I was looking at their port side, but they seemed to be drawing away to our starboard side as they approached us. Our combined speed was quite high and I had that feeling of being in a quickly-changing situation that I didn't understand well enough not to do the wrong thing. As my family slept below.

So I woke Alisa for some quick help and there after the ship was two miles away we could see her starboard green light shining out from below the red. Maybe that's a combination I don't know, but it was too much for me for a while. No AIS signal from that ship or the one that followed an hour later.

This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!