Clear a Head
07 August 2023 | Bonaire par of the king do of the Netherlands
Jenny Gaskell | Beyond perfect
Loneliness is the space inside your head.
3rd night at sea. A quick 360 degree scan, the Caribbean Sea is empty. Not a soul to be seen for days on end.
It is Saturday 5th August. Dinner is done, the sun has set across the water without any pizzazz at all 🤷🏻♀️ and now I’m on watch until mid-night.
It is a perfect temperature under the stars and I have the consistent Caribbean trade wind as my friend.
I get settled, select two navigation stars on the forward port side to follow. A little celestial navigation never hurt anyone. 🤣Just in case the gps cuts out. SV Jade is pointing west for the ABC islands Netherlands (Aruba, Bonaire and Carasao) We map 130NM daily. ETA - another two days. 7/8/2023
I start by taking in the GAZILLION pinholes across the blacker than black sky. Twinkling brightly like great knowledge and power stands behind the ink black veil called night sky.
Looks like a clear night of magical sailing. It’s is perfection, just the visible main sail and gib moving us along at a steady 5knots in subdued silence.
One hour in I mention (yes one does talk to the sky) to a few little black puffs of clouds to push off so I don’t have to drop hatches or get my foul weather gear on. Today’s three bursts of squalls in broad daylight was good training in timing and direction of clouds to be concerned about.
I’ll be able to tell when they are a problem without looking as the breeze intensifies and then Jade will prance about like a guard dog antsy with the change of surrounds.
By the second hour into my shift, the horizon had bled eerily into the night sky and those clouds have pocketed my leading stars. I won’t action anything yet (I tell myself) there is a good chance when full moon shows it’s face it might shoo them away. I’ll wait, the moon will shed light on this scenario and all the shadows will hopefully disappear.
It’s 10.20pm - Right on cue an orange glow lifts from the horizon. Within the next hour as she rises from the east, her reflection will edge closer bringing me both light and company.
By the time I hand over to He Who Hums one last scan around and still no traffic to report, the whole sky has lifted, the clouds and stars both have dispersed. It looks like an ordinary night sky, he doesn’t know what he has missed, it’s not the time for that.
The best has happened and so I brace myself retreat down the steps riding the surges from the following sea the same way a monkey swings. I involuntary weave the straight hallway to the aft cabin, wedge myself amongst pillows to counterbalance the lean and listen out until I hear nothing more.
*3am arrival in Bonsaire, the island is flat as a tack, apart from the National park on southern end. The shoreline buildings set a well lit edge to the island with tall palms (just the way I like it). I spied a square rigger called Cococabana! Like I said it’s dark, it started with C 🤣. I know I’m gonna love this island known for boating history not to mention the best diving in the world!
Goodnight… good morning and good day ! The sun is about to shed sunlight on this place!