As I first become hazily aware that sleep is over and the layers of fog are peeling back to consciousness, I am also noticing my early morning routine starting to gel. My eyes grow accustomed easily to our darkened forward cabin, but there is a subtle, barely sensed feeling in the predawn darkness. It begins to ease into the space with a hint; not defined, more suggested. And each time I feel more ready and almost cued by what seems to be a suggestion or premonition of morning coming.
The fans are creating a gentle and surprisingly quiet breeze on our upper torsos aided by the 2 half open hatches above our feet. This "little" wind is how we relieve the end of day heat as we read ourselves to sleep. The dark hours of cooling that bring the trade winds more softly though the night are creating what's quickly becoming my favorite time of day...or is it still night? With anticipation of a pleasant temperature and a welcome lack of glare I ease from our berth and leave Sarah's soft steady breathing, slip on some shorts, and grab a bit of water as I poke my head above the companionway and come on deck to meet the vast darkness of the sky. It feels instantly as if I'm greeting the day before it's actually daytime.
Calmness pervades everywhere. The wind is mild whispers, easing, and free of variation. The water is rippling and quiet with more sounds to discover as my senses adjust. I breathe in the fragrance of salt and sea and land all pushed across the reef 100 yards to windward. The atmosphere is still rich with the night's influence, yet darkness has already begun to give way to the first indications of a slightly lighter shade of dark grey in the east. The brightest stars of constellations still suspended on above the hills of the island to our west are shining; not twinkling, just the last steady glow of reflection from yesterday's sun.
Because the bow always rotates to face the wind at anchor or on a mooring I step on deck and make my way forward soaking in the relative stillness and the small suffused changes in the sky turning a slow 360 while balancing to the gentle rhythms in the movement of the hull in the water. The shapes of our neighboring boats are shadows in the bay before there is light enough for details. In this arena of calm and cool and quiet I spend some minutes looking for any others drawn on deck for this predawn vibe, these before the brightness moments. There are none.
I sit in the cockpit watching the last stars extinguished as the wind begins to quicken accelerating the hum of our wind generator blades. Ripples and small gurgles evolve into the beginnings of small but regular waves and with the ever increasing light birds appear. First the flapping and skimming of black and white terns after a breakfast, and then soon after, the Frigate birds soaring over the hills of the island to our west now more detailed and highlighted. In minutes, and far too soon, the spell is broken. Salmon pink hues begin and irrevocable light imposes a new brighter urge of activity. My reflections and the special sense of calm are stowed away again until I ease from the groggy haze tomorrow...almost totally dark and yet so inviting.