"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

Sailing South by Story Southworth

>> Saturday, October 17, 2009

I just came off of bow watch and it was a moment that will stay with me for a while. First of all it's really foggy and the clouds are covering up all the light so its pitch black out, like the real, dark night, black. The kind your eyes can’t adjust to. As I was standing up there I couldn’t help but wonder what the point of bow watch was on a night like this. I wouldn’t be able to see anything until it was very close.

But I kept up the constant searching, the night vigil, despite these thoughts, sweeping the horizon for lights but finding none.

I happened to glance down, and for a moment I had to squint my eyes, disoriented. Shapes were moving in and out of the waves, but they seemed to be on fire, and electrical glowstick fire. The water the bow sliced through also churned back “on fire”, but then disappeared, turning an inky black and melting back into the depths. I knew what the fire was – bioluminesence, and after a moment I was able to identify the shapes as dolphins, about 5 of them, playing in the bow waves, cutting weaving, the occasional fin breaking the surface. A dance I didn’t know the steps to.

What had originally caused me pause, I now realize, was how the bioluminesence affected the dolphin bodies. The seal, streamline shape of their bodies was highlighted, and they each left a trail of bubbles, comments on the inky black water. They belong in the world of the unreal.

I must of stood there, completely captivated, craning my neck down for a good twenty minutes, watching as they slowly dropped off the bow, one at a time, all to the port side. After they had gone, I was left there, surrounded by fog, watching the water catch fire, and then melt back into darkness, becoming another mile of water racing out behind us.


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