Monday, January 3, 2011

Dec 21 - Lunar eclipse

The full Moon is beautiful. Even if it's brightness washes out the stars. Nic and I watched the sunset to starboard and the Moon rise to port, while serenaded by Getz and Gilberto. Ridiculously romantic! Totality occurred around 1:30 a.m. while we sailed somewhere off Manzanillo. I'm reminded of how Columbus, sailing into the Caribbean, used his knowledge of an upcoming eclipse to trick natives into believing he had godly powers, capable of turning the Moon into the color of blood. I'm perfectly content to sit out this watch. Sula is sailing herself beautifully. I've made a little bed in the cockpit with a pillow and a blanket so I can lie back and watch the eclipse. Every quarter hour or so, I get up and scan ahead and astern to see if there are ships on the horizon. Manzanillo is a busy port, and more often than not, there are lights on the horizon which need to be monitored relative to our motion. We are 21.38 hours from our destination. Lots of shooting stars. The North star is low, around 15 degrees above the horizon, which makes everything out of whack for a star gazer from Canada. 2:03 a.m., and the Moon is still bathed in Earth's shadow. It's illumination has been reduced by more than a factor of a thousand, and the stars have returned to the sky. The Milky Way stretches above the horizon as a band, rather than an arc across the sky. I joke with Nic that sailing during the day is boring as there is nothing to look at. No stars to steer by.

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