A Night to Remember
The elegant simplicity of simply setting a course for 180* south and sticking with it for a week was wondrous in and of itself. But executing that plan has been a true adventure, topped by a night I will never forget.
The watch before us braved a fairly raucous squall, but by the time we inherited the deck at midnight, the sea had quieted to a glassy, rolling calm illuminated by an almost full moon. I gladly relaxed into my pilot’s perch, one hand on the helm, feet propped up on a stay. It didn’t take long to fall into the meditative trance of keeping us on course by lining the mast up with an arm of the southern cross then guiding the helm a few degrees up or down, counteracting the gentle winds that propelled us toward our destination.
The knowledge that we would be coming upon Palmyra, a tiny spit of an atoll in the middle of the Pacific, shortly after sunrise seemed to complete an already perfect night.
Then a meteor streaked across the bow — and half the sky — lighting the night up and leaving a broad streak of raw, orange flame in its wake. Perhaps in response to the celestial show above, the ocean itself began exploding in its own chorus of starbursts — a bright, bioluminescent cyan — as our bow wave cut through a swath of phytoplankton.
It was an indelible experience that I will carry with me forever.
I retired to my berth already excited for what new and extraordinary things the next day would undoubtedly bring.