On Watch

Orion's Belt

It is 0135 on Monday, October 6. As I write this, you folks back home in the Eastern US are watching the last half hour of your ten o'clock show. We are sailing to the Canaries and I'm on watch on an incredibly beautiful night. The moon is nearly full, the major stars are so bright that I made EW get out of bed (he'd just gotten in - I didn't wake him up) and come identify what I was looking at: one satellite and some big honking stars.

The wind died just before my afternoon watch began. We had barely enough wind to sail, but were not going fast enough for Casey, the auto-pilot to work well. EW decided to hand steer, but I was against it. He steered for a bit into my watch until I felt guilty and sent him below to sleep. I steered. It was a beautiful day. Overhead was a clear blue sky, rimmed at the horizon with small, puffy clouds. The sea was a deep blue, with only one to two foot waves. We ghosted along, La Luna and I, finally heading southeast to the Canaries at the breath-taking speed of 2 knots an hour.

This is how I felt sailing my little boat, Selene, in Quohog Bay in Maine. Calm. Accomplished. Happy. Maybe I'll hand steer a bit more on this trip. Reading, cooking, learning a language -- those are all good things to do out here. (I have to cook, EW insists on eating every day.) Being and sailing are two good things to do out here, too.

Gotta remember that.

During my watch the wind picked up to 10-12, and shifted just a bit more to the north -- a great move on the wind's part. Early in EW's watch, we had a target on AIS, a 244 meter cargo ship, heading almost right for us. EW hailed them on the radio and the watch captain was delighted to chat with us. He turned hard to starboard to pass us port to port. Usually these ships turn one or two degrees so that they cross us a mile out instead of less than a half mile. This lovely man turned fully, as he would for another cargo ship, and then he hailed us.

"Where are you going?" "Where did you come from?" "How many on board?" He was delighted to chat with EW about our travels. They are on their way to New Orleans to load up with grain for China, and will then proceed through the Panama Canal. The watch captain is from Greece, and very impressed with our much more minor cruises in a very much smaller vessel. EW and he wished the other safe passages and switched back to Channel 16. Two ships, passing in the night. (Well a big honking cargo ship and a small sailboat, passing in twilight. But you get the idea.)

This was a good day at sea.

As of 01:44 on October 6 we were at North 33 21.54 and West 21 52.08

Hey, Mo. Please let me know these are getting through. Thank you and hugs.


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Phoenix of Hamble

Sounds almost magical. Safe journey.


What a cool watch captain on the cargo ship! Love reading along with your journeys! <3


Great post! Sounds like you 'met' a very cool watch Captain.

I love the description of the afternoon watch. Only thing missing is a good photo! :-)


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