Last night I realized that this would be my last night at sea for a very long time. I decided to make the most of it and enjoy the atmosphere. I went out on the deck on the bow of the ship and took in the scenery. The sun was a little past sunset. That was fine, I had seen plenty of sunsets this trip but I had never stayed to see darkness fall and the stars and planets come out for the show. It was spellbinding. First came the Moon and Venus, much farther apart than they had been earlier in the week, still forming a bright line across the sky. Jupiter and Mercury followed close behind. It is rare to see Mercury. Being so close to the Sun, it follows it down in the evening. You need a location with nothing blocking the horizon. The sea is perfect for this.
As the sky continued to darken, I was able to see Orion, Ursa Major and even Ursa Minor. They all seemed to be in the wrong place compared to my home latitude of nearly 44° N.
The temperature was perfect and you could feel the salt from the waves in the air. The ship was moving slower than it had been earlier making a gentle breeze. I stayed out watching the waves, savoring the smell of the sea breeze and enjoying the show in the sky for nearly an hour.
Next week I go back to snow on the ground, temperatures below freezing and winds that never really stop in my home town of Idaho Falls, Idaho. That may not sound like the best ending but I will also go home to skiing, my students, who I miss more than I thought I would, my wonderful family and my faithful dog.
I will miss the sea but I will treasure the adventure that was Expedition 340T Atlantis Massif.