This morning, I got up earlier for my 5am shift, in order to get a sneak preview of the meteor shower that’s due to take centre stage tonight and tomorrow.
It was well worth the early start as, in an hour, we saw at least a dozen meteors streaking across the night sky. Sadly, it was over too soon and the black curtain came down literally when it suddenly clouded over and dealt us a rather wet and windy squall, totally obliterating the starry sky.
The day continued in much the same squally vein and, as the swell grew, it’s the first time on passage, that we’ve gravitated inside during the day as the rough seas hurled water up and across our saloon windows and the boat bounced around as if on a wild fairground ride. Thoughts of doing the washing, fishing and baking were quickly put aside for another day.
It’s days like this when you discover the stamina needed for an offshore passage. With the motion and noise fro m the heavy seas, sleep was difficult to come by and our shift patterns quickly altered around the weather conditions and the need for Skipper to be awake to make the call on sail changes. It was a tough day, but there’s calmer weather ahead, so we just had to push through the best we can.
Thankfully, by nightfall, while the sea state was still confused and choppy, the squally weather had settled down (for the time being). Clearer skies returned and we were able to enjoy the next star-studded meteor act.
The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs every year from mid-July to late August, as Earth passes through a cloud of dust particles and debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet. As particles from the comet hit the atmosphere at speeds of up to 140,000 mph, they burn up and appear as streaks of light across the night sky. Larger pieces of the comet, that are unusually bright, appear as fireballs.
According to NASA, the Perseids are considered the best meteo r shower of the year, as it has the brightest and most numerous meteors – with up to 50 an hour.
I have to tell you, watching this event at sea, with no light pollution and a sky teeming with stars, was jaw-droppingly awesome. We saw many meteors that zipped across the sky like greased lightning – or as Skipper referred to them - like supersonic glow-worms! To capture it on film was impossible, but this event goes straight into our very special memory box, as it was nothing short of spectacular.
Total miles sailed in 24 hours: 162 miles
Total miles to SavuSavu, Fiji: 937 – we are half way there!
Date: Wednesday 11 August
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