Sailing with Charlie: The Moon

The most wonderful thing about living and cruising on a
sailboat for a long period is that the lifestyle encompasses so much of what
the world has to offer. You are out there in the midst of a natural
environment. You use the wind to propel your home to untold destinations and
you need to be largely self sufficient to be successful. There is nothing that
you won’t come across in time. You will need to be an accountant, a
lawyer, a mechanic, a geographer, a cook, an electrician, a biologist, a doctor,
a painter, a navigator, an astronomer, a chemist, a cleaner, a carpenter, a
meteorologist, a seamstress (or male version of) etc… It is sometimes
hard to believe the narrow plane of existence of some city dwellers and not a
few of those from northern and central climes.

tropical latitudes undoubtedly have their own special beauty and when there are
a group of islands in the picture to provide perspective and water for sun and
moon to reflect off there is a certain magical quality.

One day a
group was sitting in the cockpit of a forty something yacht sipping after
dinner drinks and it was one of those crystal clear full moon nights. A lady
looked up at the sky, sighed a long contented sigh and
said, “I wish we had the same moon in New York as you have here in the

looked at her to judge her seriousness or to see if she was being euphemistic
but it was soon confirmed that she didn’t have any idea about the phases
of the moon. She continued, “Does the full moon last for five days?”

A quick
lesson on the moon’s monthly cycle soon enlightened the lady and she
seemed amazed that the tides, the vertical movement of the ocean, were caused
by the position of the moon.

Time and space…how fascinating. If you live your
allotted three score and ten years you will have lived through approximately
850 full moons. If you count all the full moons that you are unable to see
because of weather, work, travel or other commitments you are likely to miss
quite a few. So, to everyone out there, especially if you’re in the
tropics, don’t miss the magic of a full moon night.

Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.