December 12, 2000
The Mid-Atlantic
Latitude: 15 degrees north; Longitude: 38 degrees west

Moonshadow, Moonshadow
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 spinnaker.

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






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