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Stars Above and Below

Jan 25, 2010

Location: Underway to St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean
Author: Jason Chodakowski
It is impossible for me to describe how incredible night watch at 3 a.m. can be. For three hours you share the deck with the seven or so members of your watch team, and if the sky is clear of clouds, as it has been these past evenings, the stars above are a true marvel to behold. In no place on terra firma have I seen a sky as full of dazzling points of light as on the open ocean; it is over-brimming with them, and the Milky Way truly does look like a galaxy spilled across the sky. But being on night watch has something to offer below as well as above, for as the bow of the Argo dips and crashes into sea, bioluminescent organisms are stirred from sleep and glow greenish-blue in protest. With each dip of the bow one witnesses a fireworks display of sparkling, flying lights. If any fish happen to be nearby, their sudden scurrying away disturbs the bioluminescent organisms still more. You’ll then see the fishes’ path through the water as glowing lines darting erratically away from the ship. At night the sea responds intimately to our vessel. To see so many stars above is a sight to behold, however, to see them above and below in the deep hours of the night is majestic.