006 - May 3rd 20:24 PDT

Captain's log. Pitch black now. Entirely on radar and autopilot. Big chop. Getting our sea legs. Visited by at least 2 albatrosses today. All systems nominal
flash photo of the helm at night

cute logbook logo

San Diego to Charleston

Debriefing Report 006

Pitch dark. Think it's hard to get used to? It's not. Sure, for Crewman Elena, sunset is difficult. At noon, or so, she kind of knows it's coming, but by the time failing luminosity can't be denied, it's terrifying. What's worse, is that it's happening to her, and that makes it horrible. Of course, she is at sea and bad things happen at night. I've tried to tell her that bad things happen all the time. It doesn't help -- go figure. I guess that when bad things happen during the day one can see further, to a place badness isn't happening: can see through the badness. In the dark, all that badness is right there -- packed into your sphere of illumination -- and out in the darkness, it's all gotta be bad, right? Well, that's how Elena sees it. She thinks every sunset at sea is her last.

Then... it... gets... dark. Pitch dark. Acceptance... and life goes on.

That's when I really love the pitch dark -- providing something bad isn't happening, of course. Not being gravity locked to the sun, night happens all over this planet. In the city, or almost anywhere on or near land, there's a night sky. You know it's the sky because its up there, and you know it is night because streetlights stab at your retinas when you look up -- so you don't usually gaze upward. Besides that, it's boring, it's dark, meh... who needs it? But it's not really dark, it's just featureless because the real light, and babe, there's a lot of it, can't get through the glare. Get away from land and its light pollution, don't chase away the dark: accept the night, and the sky scintillates with ancient light.

Lying on deck -- when safe enough to do so -- and gazing into a moonless sky, I have the thrilling sensation of falling forever. I clutch at handholds, running rigging, anything sometimes, just to keep from falling upwards past the mast and on into space. Knowing I am sensing photons from fusion reactions thousands, often millions, of years ago, across distances and possibilities I simply can't fathom, leaves me in existential awe. Nothing else matters. Nothing...

One or two o'clock in the morning, instrument lights subdued to facilitate seeing by starlight, I was treated to another mind blowing light show. This time, in the toilet. Of course! Marine toilets flush with seawater. I spent five, maybe ten minutes pumping away, mesmerized by the swirling, phosphorescent glow of pissed off (a rather appropriate expression, I may add) bioluminescent plankton in the seawater I was rinsing away my... well... piss, with. Had it not been that dark, I never would have been awestruck by the starlight from the bowl of heaven above, or mind-blown by the bio-light from the bowl of the toilet below.

Life, and awe, and mystery, and wonder... there's lots of it out there... in the dark.