- Kathy Dunmire
The Beauty of Night Sailing
The beauty of night sailing has been a gift to me on this passage down the coast of Costa Rica. As I try to describe the feelings and sights, I almost don’t have words. I am wrapped in a warm blanket of evening darkness. Thousands of stars, unhindered by city lights, spill across the sky. I see the expansive Milky Way, glowing as never before. The Southern Cross (thank you Crosby Stills and Nash for making that a thing) is prominent in the sky. And the planet Venus is shining so bright and so low in the sky, there is a path of light reflected across the water. The only sounds are the wind and the churning of the water as we break through the ocean on our way to Bahia Nacascolo in the Papagayo gulf of Costa Rica.
And then magic. We are enveloped in light in the water. On the crest of every wave crafted by the boat are points of light dancing on the water. Bio effervescence. I am captured.
We reach our anchorage in the dark of night and settled in. We are the only boat in the bay. As I fluff my pillow and spread my sheet on the cockpit bench to sleep, I hear the soft noises of the night. The myriad of small needle fish are active, jumping with a plopping noise every few seconds. Then on occasion, a louder splash as a large fish jumps. There are song birds, and the whoo whoo of monkeys quietly calling. The ripples of water lull me to sleep, even as I strive to stay awake to soak it in. In the middle of the night, I am awakened. I hear the whoosh of a mammal with a breathing hole. Whoosh as it surfaces, splash as it dives. Peaceful, a solo creature, not visible, only audible. There is a big bump on the boat and I am startled. I debate with myself - should I get a spotlight and see? After a feeble attempt to sight the dolphin I instead decide to sit back again, and soak in the magic of the moment. What a gift this night is.