"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Night Watch by Sam Brown

>> Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sam Brown
Night Watch
10. 24. 09

As we have spent more and more time on the open ocean following the daily rhythm of life aboard Westward, any shipmate can easily identify their favorite part of the day. Personally, night watches are my favorite part of the twenty-four hour day. On one particular night watch, we were motor-sailing in calm conditions about thirteen miles off the coast of Grand Caicos Island. I stood on bow watch scanning the horizon enjoying the warm breeze run through my hair. Visibility was perfect. Far off, about one point on the starboard bow, I could see a minuscule white light. I waited a few minutes until I was sure it was a light and not a star, and reported it to my mate, Mr. Dimock. He confirmed the light and we went below into the dog house to look on the radar. I was right, a ship of some sort was out there, and holding a course towards us. We were going to have to wait until he got a little closer to make our next decision. Slowly, the tiny white light I had seen grew bigger, until it was many white lights and red and green navigation lights heading towards us. I am going to see if I can contact them on the radio. We went back into the doghouse and tuned the VHF radio to channel 16, the international distress and hailing channel. Mr. Dimock spoke into the microphone, identifying us, our latitude and longitude, as well as theirs. Right after finishing our message, a voice answered back in a thick Eastern European accent. The ship shrouded in darkness was a cruise ship, the Liberty. The captain was aware of us and passing us port to port with a CPA – or closets point of approach – of two miles. We thanked him and signed off the radio. Ten minutes later, we had the binoculars on deck peering at the floating city just two miles off our beam. The cruise ship was so lit up it temporarily covered up the stars. It was strange to have a community of forty people so distinctly separate from a floating city of a couple thousand people. Not before long, the cruise ship was behind us, a tiny speck of white on the black horizon. My watch was just about over, and I assumed bow watch again, peering out at the horizon. This watch is just another example of why I like night watches. Every watch is spontaneous and busy. The stars and moon, when not covered by the clouds, practically illuminate over the deck and sometimes it feels as if our watch is the only watch on the boat. The thrill of sailing at night is an experience I simply can’t capture in words. I look forward to night watch every day.


Total Pageviews

  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP