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  • Writer's pictureTwo Drifters

Pacific Post: Blog 5- Nightshift

While offshore, there’s no stopping or putting the anchor down at night, we carry on sailing until we reach our intended destination. With just the two of us on this 4000-nautical mile journey to French Polynesia, we become literally like ships passing in the night, as we share the watches between us.

Watch duties including looking out for, and steering clear of, other vessels; checking the sails and ensuring we’re on course; and keeping an eye on the weather and any potential storms ahead, which may mean a change of sails.

My watch is from 7pm to midnight, then Ferg takes the midnight to 5am slot. Spending five hours alone on the bridge, in the dark, isn’t my favourite time of the day, and yet, with the calm weather we currently have, there’s something rather special about the peace, quiet and solitude.

What we both adore about the nightshift, is the starry sky. With no light pollution, there’s an abundan ce of stars, planets and satellites to gaze at, and get totally immersed in. It’s completely mesmerising. However, there’s been a notable lack of planes passing through the sky this last week.

Shooting stars are like buses, you can look for ages and not see one, and then there’s three in quick succession. I fondly refer to them as turbo-charged angles, scurrying around the planets on a mission to get somewhere and fast. Occasionally, there’s a meteor shower, and the sky entertains itself with a wonderful display of rocket-fuelled tails, whizzing through the galaxy.

It’s not just the sky that’s spellbinding. The sea also puts on its own show. In the last couple of nights, we have had ‘Duracell-powered’ dolphins, darting through the water like ghostly streaks, leaving a trail of phosphorescence behind them. They skim the surface, blow out and dive under again, speeding alongside the boat’s hulls, getting an extra push and going faster with the current. Occasionally, they are so excited in their play, I can hear a flip, jump or summersault, but I’m largely dependent on the starlight or moonlight to be able to see. It’s easy to feel their sense of contentment and fun as they enjoy their nocturnal antics.

On Skipper’s watch, he thought he saw a reflection of the moon in the water, but there was no moon. When he looked closer, he realised, the large white mass, was a humpback whale; its immense size becoming apparent as it moved through the phosphorescence. It swam under the boat, gave us the royal seal of approval and then went on its merry way.

It’s truly magical moments like these that we love to share with you. Sadly, photos taken in the dark just don’t do justice to such special times, but I hope the words can paint a picture and capture just a little of what it’s like to be at one nature after the dusk falls on Two Drifters.

Total miles sailed in 48 hours: 280 (We’ re a quarter of the way there)!
Dates: Saturday 21 March and Sunday 22 March

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

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