Latitude: 15 degrees north; Longitude: 38 degrees west
By Lois Joy
Last night, on my 2000 - 2300 night watch, I enjoyed the most glorious
moonrise. The rise began early in the evening, a few hours after
sunset. The moon rose out of the eastern horizon at our stern,
a full, golden-orange ball. As clouds moved up from the horizon
to cover it, it peeked out gradually, turning the surrounding clouds
an amber brown, then hid again. This hide and seek game continued
as I sat in my favorite perch, the seat the starboard helm, fascinated.
Orion's bright belt twinkled at me from the southeastern sky. (I
knew Orion would continue racing toward the northwest throughout the
night, always escaping from Scorpion with its sharp stings.) Finally
freed of the clouds, the moon cast its spell over Pacific Bliss and
its crew. It lit a long, wide path down from the horizon directly
to Pacific Bliss' stern, right into the open doors of the salon.
The wave crests in our wake sparkled in the moon glow. I became
mesmerized. The rushing of the water in our wake and the sighing
of the eastern winds became the music of the night, as Pacific Bliss
moved on silently, a sleeping ghost ship pulled ahead by her moon-lit
As if bored with all of this, the East Wind began to play, gusting
to Force 6, filling the spinnaker, pushing the boat forward, then slacking
off again. I was riding high on nature's rollercoaster,
as Pacific Bliss picked up speed, sometimes up to 13 knots, as she surfed
down the long swells of the Atlantic. The speed and ambience of
this ride outdid any amusement ride even Walt Disney could create!
As Anne came up to the cockpit for the next watch, I regretfully turned
over to her this "Moment of Atlantic Bliss," humming the tune
of Moonshadow, as I turned in for the remainder of the night:
I'm being followed by a moon shadow. Moon shadow.
Moon shadow...I won't have to cry no more. Cat Stevens