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I've been seeing bioluminecence most nights since the end of November

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Mark Harrison writes from the Sea

I've been sailing my catamaran from Charleston, where I kept it for most of 2002, out to LA, where it will be, at least for the rest of this winter. It has been an amazing experience - one of the most intense in my life.

One of the most difficult, one of the most challenging, one of the most beautiful.

One the one hand, there are brutally pounding seas, and exhausting, grueling nights, terrifying blind entrances into rocky ports with instruments down and no moonlight. One the other hand, there have been endless gorgeous sunsets, verdant deserted reef-ringed tropical islands, constant accompaniment of playful dolphins, intense times of friendship, of peace and of tension.

And there has been the bioluminecence, a beautiful companion on dark, moonless nights, the sea frothing green or blue behind the boat and exploding fireworks of spray across the thick, black water. I watched a storm build on bioluminecent seas - I had never seen anything like it. The night started black, as so many do - clouded sky, no moon, no stars. And as the wind and waves grew, the breakers began, and as the boat started to buck, the show began. The sea went from being a cloak of nothingness - and invisible energy throwing the boat and occasional explosion of spray, to being an endless field of dimly glowing clouds, passing below the black of the sky. As far as I could see, there were ghostly mists, lighting, then dying, and as the storm built, so did these phantoms, until the were everywhere, above, below, appearing and slipping off. As the boat pitched and the winds rose, I watched these ghosts, and they washed a quiet comfort over me. I forgot to be anxious of the rising storm. I just saw their beauty, breathed their spray, and felt alive.

Jan 30, 2003 09:35 AM