Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Day Three and a Half: overnight, over water
Night fell, as is its wont, with a nearly full moon riding high. Tom -- who once had a hair-raising night steering the dear Scapegrace on these waters, while I slept like the proverbial baby -- felt unequal to the helmsman's task, so Steve and I agreed to take two hours on and two hours off. It got pretty cold; even with all the swaddling I brought, two hours was plenty for me.
But the night was clear, and in spite of the moon, and the skyglow from Boston and Portsmouth and maybe even Portland, visible twenty miles out, you could see a lot of stars.
Our course was just about due north, so I forgot about the compass and the little nav app on my phone and just lined up the bow with Polaris. Steered very light -- you feel the quartering swell coming, after a few minutes' experience, and you steer to meet it, then then you steer off again, even before it's fully passed. There's a certain hypnotic pleasure in it.
I used to do the amateur astronomy thing, but it's been a while, and my eyesight is not what it was. I was ashamed at how few constellations I could remember. There were the Bears, of course, and Cassiopeia, and the Pleiades off in the east -- mentioned in my absolute all-time favorite Greek lyric -- and good old Bootes, and Cygnus, and pretty little Delphinus, and Orion, fell harbinger of winter, who heaved his titanic, ancient form above the horizon an hour or so before dawn.
Dawn brought Steve fully awake again, morning person that he is, and he cooked the breakfast shown above, on the sluggish, not-very-hot alcohol stove (original equipment, I think). The picture isn't very flattering but the breakfast was delicious: scrambled eggs with pepperoni.