The wrong way?

A full moon in the middle of the ocean. Silvery colors shimmering in the water. It is light enough to see my shadow on deck. It is moving back and forth across the wooden planks. With exactly the same speed as the rolling of the ship. Suddenly the shadow is gone. A cloud has pushed itself in front of the moon and swallowing up my shadow. 


The ship continues to sail even when it is dark. The officer of the watch is looking at the radar screen. I do not know what he expects to see in the middle of the ocean. Another ship? A sign that we are not the only one here? It got very dark now. A huge black cloud is the reason for this. Fortunately this cloud is also traveling just like we are. She is moving a little more south than our course. And the moon lights up the water and the ship again. Even my shadow is moving back and forth again. The ship continues rolling and the mast tops go from one side to the other. This time a small cloud hides part of the moon. But more and more dark clouds are getting closer. So it is very dark again. We are looking at the radar screen once more. Not being able to see will make a human being uncomfortable. It takes away our feeling of security. We do not know whether there is something in the dark or not. Luckily only a minute ago we were able to have a look far away. If there is anything there, it will take a while until something gets nearer to become a hazard perhaps. But it is dark and you can’t be sure.

Far away

This can be very annoying sometimes. When something is further away it will become smaller and smaller. That can be awkward. Just imagine that it was vice versa. Then we would be able to see a ship on the horizon much earlier than we do now. The ship would appear larger than it is actually and the mate would be much more impressed then. One would be more careful and I think there would be less collisions between ships all over the world. And imagine this: Martinique would be great enough for us to see already. A compass and a map would become redundant. On the other hand, I think we would be disappointed often. A big and delicious cake on the table will be only half as big as you thought once you are getting closer. So let's keep things the way they are: small when far away and bigger nearby. This way I won’t have to be afraid of the rain drops that are come at me. Let's have a look if they can be seen on the radar.

18°37’ N 038°50’ W  

about the author

Andi Manser - Captain Clipper Stad Amsterdam

Captain Andi Manser came on his bike to the Netherlands all the way from Switzerland, his country of birth. He hoped to find a job on a yacht. His job as captain on the Clipper Stad Amsterdam is a dream come true.