Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Morning Light

5 AM, somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the sky is changing.

Bob usually has the 2 am. to dawn shift, so I don't observe the sun coming up very often. Every once in a while we change shifts for a variety of reasons: one person is more tired from lack of sleep on their last time off, or feeling less than up to par, or perhaps the other person just does not feel sleepy at the appropriate time. Tonight was one of those nights, and I took the second shift.
 There are 2 planets visible off the stern, Jupiter and Venus, lined up vertically, further apart than the night before. There is a faint glow of color just starting to appear in the sky. A deep brooding red starts to spread and intensify at the eastern edges of the sky and slowly rises up away from the horizon.

One by one the stars disappear, then the Milky Way is gone until only the brightest stars are visible, the two bright planets hanging on the longest, glowing against the spreading redness. The change is very subtle, each time I look to a different part of the sky I notice the difference, how much lighter it has become, but if I just watch one section the change is more difficult to discern. Low lying clouds on the horizon break up the reddish glow with their darkness.

5:15 The red is now taking on more of an orange hue and the more westerly parts of the sky are just starting to show hints of blueness rather than inky black.There are still a few stars shining, and the planets actually appear to be shining brighter.
The orange color has changed to a pale yellow-pumpkin hue, spreading further and further across the sky as if the color is being diluted. Most of the stars are gone by now and even the western sky has a lightness about it.

5:30 Some of the higher clouds are beginning to take on a whiteness against the lightening sky. Just the slightest hint of orange is visible at the horizon, peeking through the darker clouds, like glowing eyes on a Halloween display.

The sky above me is rapidly turning blue and the clouds to the north are taking on dimensionality rather than appearing as flat black shapes.The surface color of the ocean is changing also from a dark nothingness to having visible waves reflecting the growing light of the sky. Behind me, to the east the waves glow orange in a jagged line pointing toward the brightest part of the sky.

A beautiful blending of colors is starting to appear, darkest orange at the horizon, gradually shifting as my eye moves upward to yellow, pink orange, almost a light purplish color to the faintest beginnings of blue. It is impossible to tell where one color ends and the next begins. The clouds in the north are beginning to look pink against an ever blueish sky and the orange in the west is mostly yellow now.

5:45 The blending of color has spread up the sky, bright yellow at the horizon, to pastel pinks and purples to blue, the glowing orange eyes are gone. Even the yellow at the horizon is getting washed out to a pale pastel lemon, all traces of orange disappearing, even the orange glow in the ocean is gone.

The planets are still visible, but they have lost their brilliance, appearing now as small points of light in a light pastel sky.

6:00 The sun still has not made its appearance, the sky at the horizon looks almost white and the ocean has taken on a soft gray color.

6:05 A different orange glow begins at the horizon and suddenly the glow of the sun appears, brilliant orange, just a sliver at the horizon, and then disappearing behind the low horizon clouds, clouds present most mornings, obscuring the first glimpses of the sun. The sun rises rapidly and the circular shape is becoming apparent, broken up by the patchy clouds. It glows brightly and then it disappears behind the cloud bank as if it had not appeared yet, but it has left evidence in the form of an ever bluer sky.

I did not get to see the red ocean this morning as I have seen at other times, an incredible blood red color. Perhaps the clouds were the culprit this morning preventing me from seeing that particular part of the show.

6:15 The sun has climbed halfway though the low lying clouds and shafts of light are now emerging, radiating out from the clouds and brightening the ocean below them. I do have just a hint of the red in the ocean, but nothing like the brilliance I have seen other days.The tops of the low clouds are starting to glow, the rays still shining below. The low-lying clouds seem to be rising with the sun. There is now a wider gap between the horizon and the cloud, whereas the clouds were touching the horizon as the sun first appeared this morning.

6:45 The sun has appeared above the clouds. I can no longer look in that direction it is so bright. The sky is blue, the ocean is blue, the planets have disappeared and a new day has begun. This is day 19 of our 3000 mile passage across the ocean. We have 306 miles to go, and it's time for Bob to be on watch. My turn to get some sleep.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

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