Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Sun & Moon Dances

Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68 W

No, I'm not talking about aboriginal ritual dances.  I'm talking about the way the sunlight and moonlight play on a boat swinging at anchor.     If you live in a house for a while, you get used to the daily patterns of light.  Morning light comes in window A, and in late afternoon through window B.  You may have some pretty dramatic seasonal shifts, but they change so slowly you hardly notice.

Now think instead of a boat lying at anchor.  She swings with the wind and the tides.  It is very unusual for her to actually sit still for very long.  That means that each window and each hatch has a moving view of the outside world.

In the early morning and late afternoon, sunlight through the portholes can be annoying.  As I sit using my computer, perhaps writing a blog, I'm suddenly blinded by bright sunlight aimed right at my eyes.  I shift position.  A few sconds later, it comes in via a different porthole.  I shift again, then again, then it starts all over as the boat swings back the other way.  Eventually I get tired and put up our window shades.  On Tarwathie, those are shower caps that fit nicely over the circular portholes.

Mid-day it is the sunlight coming through the overhead transparent hatch that disturbs my nap.  Sometimes I have to put a towel over it to block the light and the heat.

Most charming though are the night scenes.   From my bunk, I can see up through the hatch, and out through the open companionway door.   I watch the stars pan back and forth across my view.   Almost all the time, I see other masts dividing my view.  My favorite is when I see the moon out through the door.  It doesn't need to be a full moon to make bright light.  1/4 moon is enough as long as it is a clear, and dry night.

When the late afteroon sun comes in the door or the ports, I just love watching the bright areas and shadowed areas lazily shift left and right around objects in the cabin.  It is very soothing.

The other night we had a particularly nice 3/8 crescent moon doing its dance outside the companionway door.  I could see it drifting in from the starboard side.  It disappeared briefly behind a mast, then drifted to port and out of sight.  After a minute or so out of sight, it reappeared drifting back the other way.   As it passed each time I marveled at the strong shadows it makes inside the boat.   Unlike the shadows in your house and yard, these shadows are constantly in motion.

Need I say it?  Libby also looks very beautiful in the moonlight laying there beside me.

Only 2-3 times in the past seven years have we slept out on deck.  Either lack of privacy from nearby boats, or mosquitoes are the usual hinderances.   Nevertheless, sleeping in the boat given the views we have from the bunks is a semi-outdoor experience.  We love it.

1 comment:

  1. Along with the light changing the one thing I noticed was while sitting reading, I looked out the companionway and noticed a concrete piling (the vertical part of the dock) dancing around like on a pogo stick. It takes a while to realize that it's YOU that is dancing around and the concrete pole is indeed set 10 feet into the ground and not likely to move much. Ken


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