Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 12: Southern Cross

05* 15.3' North
125* 63.8' West

"When you see the Southern Cross for the first time . . . . . " is how the song goes. Well, it wasn't really the first time (I have seen it from Australian soil) and not even the first on this trip (it was there last fall from Mexico's Baja just like John Steinbeck said it would be). Last night was the first time that the skies have really cleared up enough to truly see "the stars". On my watches, I have certainly had some good windows where I could see some stars, but not like I got just before dawn this morning. Just like the full moon rising over a hill, there is a kind of perspective that happens when you get a panorama of stars. The Southern Cross looked so tall and since we have started motoring (due to light and very flukey wind), we are southing right at it. I can definitely see why the ancient Polynesian explorers used it and other constellations for their navigation.
Just before sunset, we passed through the back edge of a squall line and we were treated to a rainbow show. First, as we approached, there was a vibrant piece of rainbow. Then, we noticed a very light second piece. These faded in and out as we sailed into some warm light rain. Finally, the middle of the squall, with the sun heading toward its set in the west, we got a FULL rainbow. This is a new one on me, as it not only made the typical full arch, but we could also see in continue below the horizon into the watery field that stretched out to our port side. Amazing!

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