Saturday, April 18, 2009

Millions Of Stars

The nearest land is over 1,000 miles away at the southern tip of India. It is 2.00 am on a moonless night and our ship is running in total darkness which means no lights of any kind are on. It is so dark that you have to wear red goggles for approximately 30 minutes before going up on the flight deck so your eyes are fully adjusted.

I open the hatch and am greeted by the warm equatorial breeze of an Indian Ocean night and I step out onto the catwalk. I hear the gentle sound of the water as our ships slides through silently. We are headed to Australia after our northern Arabian Sea patrol. I climb the few steps up from the catwalk and step onto the deck and take a few steps inboard just to make sure I am not too close to the deck edge.

I can feel the deck rolling gently below my feet and feel the slight vibrations that radiate through our ship ever so slight as if she doesn't want to disturb the night. I take my goggles off as my eyes are now fully adjusted to the dark and I am greeted with one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen.

The sky at sea at night when there is no moon is much much different than on land where you have man made light that interferes with what you see. I looked up and what I saw was truly awe inspiring. Millions of stars twinkling in every direction. Little ones and big ones, clusters and lone stars from horizon to horizon. It was as if someone took a paint brush and splattered it across the sky. There were so many stars visible I could actually see the horizon line out in the distance where the sky met the surface of the ocean.

Every few minutes I would see a flash of light as a shooting star raced across the sky. I wasn't the only one taking in the magnificant show. Others were on deck as well with their heads looking skyward. Some were even laying down on their backs looking straight up. No one said a word. What could you say? When you see a sight like this you have to wonder how people can say there is no God. Often times when you are at sea you begin to think just how small you are in the vastness of the ocean. Then when you look up at a sight like this you realize that you really are just a tiny spot in the grans scheme of things.

Everyone should be able to see this view at least once in their life. It will change then forever.

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