Wednesday, October 8, 2008

We haven't left yet, but the adventure has begun

It occurred to me recently that I am already cruising, for what is cruising except working on your boat in exotic locations?

Padanaram has been pretty exotic lately. No one knows why, but the harbor has been taken over by tiny bioluminescent jellies that are incredible on a moonless night. You first notice them when you motor your dinghy through the harbor and cross the thermocline at the jetty. All of a sudden, it is like someone put a light on you; the water all around you just lights up in a ghostly green glow. Anywhere the water is disturbed, the creatures light up. The dinghy’s wake is so bright that looking across it affects your night vision. The bow wave is like lava flow, but cooler.

I saw this one night and tried to describe the intensity to Dana, but words are such a poor substitute for the experience. So I dragged her out on the harbor a few nights ago after dinner to see for herself. I was anxious that she see a display as intense as I did, because it was unseasonably cold that night, with air temps in the 40s and being on the water, 100% humidity. I did not want to drag her out on that inhospitable night if the jellies were giving a poor performance.

At first it seemed like she would not get the show. The jellies were there, but not as numerous, and therefore not as bright. But when we cleared the jetty the water just lit up. Then the coolest thing of all: The big striper and blue fish were hanging out right at the point of the jetty, the way they always do. (They hang out in the cooler water looking for fingerlings that are swept out by the tide). The dinghy engine spooked them, and when they moved we could see a school of blue-green ghost fish darting away from our course, maybe 10 feet below the surface. The smaller pogue that swim just a foot or two below the surface would zig-zag away exercising their best evasive maneuvers, leaving a sparkling trail. It was like a fireworks show, but instead of the percussion soundtrack, there was just silence.

Way cool.

I may try to get pictures tonight since a picture is worth a thousand words, but I cannot imagine a picture or movie will capture the experience either.