The Big Blue

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Sky

12 August 2012
Mark
Since leaving the Pacific Northwest this spring, my world has continued to change in dramatic and ways. It's not until you leave a place, that you begin to realize how it defines you. Though it is summer still and I'm not used to seeing stars in the summer (because the sun dominates the Alaskan sky), I've noticed on night watches that things are not where they are "supposed to be." The big dipper lies askew in the sky and sets each night as it takes another dip from the Pacific Ocean. The Milky Way is strewn in a north-south direction and there are many stars, yet I can't seem to quite get my bearings. It's made me feel a bit like I'm on a different planet. Where's Orion? I think that's Polaris on the horizon, but where's the little dipper? And what are all these other bright stars? I've also noticed since leaving Hawaii there is a very distinct absence of human activity in the skies. There's no stream of flashing strobes from airplanes. Satellites are almost nonexistent. Being from Alaska, I am well used to remoteness. But sailing south toward the equator from Hawaii, I'm realizing this is a different kind of remoteness. You can be remote in Alaska, but not without the constant reminder that communication satellites and jet con trails are directly overhead. One takes for granted that the sky is the same everywhere. But it's not. The one I'm used to seeing is flecked with signs of human existence that seem to (at least from a technology standpoint) dominate the northern hemisphere. Seeing the absence of these signs and the familiarity of the star map that's apparently been imprinted in my head leaves one feeling a bit like you're sailing off the end of the world. We've almost arrived after sailing some 900 miles south from Hawaii for a destination that is a mere pinhole speck on the ocean; a lacy thread of lucky land barely visible from sea or space. Yea, Palmyra measures altitude in the severals of meters. Anyway, tonight I remembered a cool ap that I'd downloaded for my phone which could tell me the answers to some of my questions. After fiddling with the settings a bit, I could point the phone to my mystery star and (with some effort trying to account for the constant boat motion) get a positive ID. I had to turn off the constellation map because it was too distracting with all these animals and characters floating around in the sky. But holy cow, I didn't really know you could see Mars and Saturn like that or there was Alpha Centauri and Vega and I thought Draco was only a Harry Potter name! Its 2:38 HST and I've just watched Jupiter rise- followed by an orange bowl-shaped crescent moon. OK, there's Pleiades. I can actually see the Southern Cross on my ap, but it's still below the horizon. Not for long.
Comments
Vessel Name: Radiance
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau First456
Hailing Port: Seward, AK
Crew: Mark Ward, Laurence
About:
M [...]
Extra:
Radiance is a German Frers designed Beneteau First456 sloop. She has the deep lead fin keel and tall rig. She competes in the local sailing regattas and had taken top honors in all events on multiple occasions. Laurence and Mark have returned from a 2.5 year blue water cruise that essentially [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/thebigblue/?show=profile
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Radiance's Photos - Main
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Pics from s/v Radiance visit to Fiji, 2013
71 Photos
Created 22 June 2013
Misc photos from Bay of Islands, New Zealand
49 Photos
Created 18 February 2013
Cruising Bay of Islands and driving about the North Island.
100 Photos
Created 14 January 2013
Opua, Whangarei, Karikari, etc.
39 Photos
Created 4 December 2012
32 Photos
Created 22 November 2012
91 Photos
Created 1 November 2012
49 Photos
Created 19 October 2012
S/V Radiance in Niuatoputapu
12 Photos
Created 19 October 2012
s/v Radiance photos of Fanning
47 Photos
Created 4 October 2012
s/v Radiance Photos of Suwarrow visit
40 Photos
Created 3 October 2012
29 Photos
Created 3 October 2012
Radiance in Palmyra, Aug, 2012
45 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
18 Photos
Created 29 July 2012
Photos beginning May 2012, Departing Seward Alaska - heading south.
12 Photos
Created 10 June 2012