Night sky viewing has been disappointing so far. A combination of long Arctic days and fog have allowed us only an occasional glimpse of the moon and none of the stars. Now that we are at lower latitudes and the nights are getting longer and darker we expect to do better.

Last night we were rewarded for our long wait. A clear night, only the thinnest sliver of a moon sitting on the horizon and real darkness setting in after a glorious sunset. All the stars, planets and constellations we are familiar with, slowly flooded into view. At about 1am the Aurora started its display. Jarlath and Rory were on watch with Mike and myself below having just finished. They shouted down to us to come and look. Quickly we were all on deck.

And it was spectactular.!

A white trail arched across the sky from west to east over the top of our mast and sail. It was shimmying and shivering like a curtain in a breeze. Other patterns formed. Streaks of light, white brush strokes lightly daubed in groups on the steel blue sky, circles and whorls and undulations of all shapes. And within each pattern - a wild pulsing and vibrating. The dominant colour was white but at the fringes there were flashes of reds and greens. It was mesmerising.

We watched for over an hour as the great celestial artist wielded his brush and stroked the sky with wraith-like patterns and curtains of light.

We tried to photograph it, but it is impossible to do so from a moving boat.

It stopped suddenly and did not appear again.

Definitely the highlight of my voyage!


As explained in the report, we tried to take photos, but cannot do without a tripod (and a stationary boat!) So here is one of the author, Kevin Cronin, Breadmaker and Astronomer!

Here is a nice sunset - but you can see how we cool the vodka by leaving it on deck.