Shooting Star

The Passage

 


“Coming from Ensenada and making for Cabo San Lucas, we caught a fresh breeze just outside of the port. The wind was off the Sea of Cortez. It was almost body temperature warm. I told the crew to settle in below as I decided to let her stretch her legs and sail through the night to Puerto Vallarta. Freshening to 17 and then 19 knots, all 39,000 lbs of her lifted onto her keel as she bent over and accelerated to 9 and eventually 11 knots on a beam reach leaving the rapidly diminishing city lights in our wake. I plugged in my treasured Etymotic earphones and found Beethoven’s Ninth on my I-pod. I checked the instruments on the panel forward of the wheel.

The first meteor fragment streaked across the sky about 45 degrees above what had been the horizon line. Then the second, then hundreds, then thousands, and then tens of thousands. It was a full-on meteor shower, my first at sea. I was transfixed. Stars shooting from horizon ahead to horizon behind. A blue-black infinity filled with fourth of July fireworks. A spectacle overhead and a sailboat racing beneath it below. That was the beginning. 

As she cantered forward sending gushers of spray to port and starboard, her bow lights twinkled red and green beneath her bow rail. I stood holding her wheel in my hands. She felt alive. She could have been a racehorse. Then forward, in the center, at the bow, a spot of glowing white crystal appeared. First one, then dozens, then like the sky above thousands of them. They were fluorescent squids, possibly from Japan. They covered the foredeck and then washed down the side decks on either side of me. Stars above, stars arcing up over the bow, stars sliding down the side decks, and Ode to Joy” rising in my ears, I looked back over the stern and watched light “crystals” rolling down to the sea where our wake had become a trail of blue fire. I was no longer on a sailboat, Spirit of Australia had become a spaceship. That one memory is just one of the hundreds she has provided to me, my family, and my friends and crews. 

If you are ready and capable for your bluewater adventure, I hope that this sailboat will surpass your dreams. She did mine.