A Special Light Show

We are sailing south about 15 miles off Cape Hatteras . It’s three o’clock in the morning, and very dark. The ocean is phosphorescent, glowing bright green everywhere it is disturbed. The wind is light, but enough to keep us moving.

We have a lot of company, more so than we are used to on an ocean sail. Within 10 miles there are at least a dozen other sailboats moving in the same general direction as we are, all migrating south to various destinations. But the real entertainment for this early morning watch is much closer to the boat.

A few minutes ago, an odd sounding splash got my attention, quickly followed by several more, and then the sharp “Puff!” of a dolphin’s breathing. We see enough of these amazing animals they have almost become routine, but having them around the boat in the pitch dark is still something special. You can’t see the fast moving animals themselves, but the bright glowing green they leave behind as they play around the boat is mesmerizing. Brilliant green comets twist and turn around the boat in a complex high speed dance. It is other worldly to watch.

Up to now, our progress has been faster than expected, with very favorable winds. The wind has clocked around, and we are now sailing nearly downwind. It is comfortable, but not especially fast. The forecast has the direction unchanged, but strengthening during the day tomorrow, so hopefully we can pick up the pace a bit.

We expect to be arriving off our destination of Hilton Head Island in the afternoon of November 4.

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