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SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
November 18, 2018
Forgotten Land and New Constellations
12 o 02.7’N x 061 o 45.0’W
At anchor in St. Georges, Grenada
After weeks of navigating from the North Atlantic with the stars as our constant companions and guides, it seems as though they have now been joined by a set of new constellations. As I look out from the bowsprit, I notice that these constellations remain steady and tend to exist in a linear form along the horizon, suggesting an altogether different presence. Though I'm still learning how to identify and distinguish Bellatrix from Betelgeuse, and Cassiopeia from Pegasus, I'm aware that these constellations are unfamiliar and warrant more consideration.
Unlike the rest of the stars, which have been gradually rotating around the North Star, these suspicious orbs emanate from the distance without the slightest regard towards the order of the celestial bodies around them. Indifferent and unfaltering, these lights linger as if they are but buoyant stars floating on the surface of the ocean; or, perhaps they have descended from their place in the night sky, too tired to stay aloft and conform to their busy schedule, or at last just curious enough to discover what lies below.
The farther we travel, the brighter and more defined these peculiar stars become, and with this increasing illumination, many of the other stars have lost their brilliance in comparison. The web of stars that has so delicately draped the world around us while at sea is slowly being erased and absorbed. Though they provide new life to the night sky, these horizon stars struggle to compliment what is around them and inhabit the evening with a looming and uncharacteristically expansive presence.
This light feels out of place as I look out into the distance, but in a strange way I cannot help but be reminded of the light aboard this ship, and the light that surrounded me at home..perhaps that light too was the light of fallen or curious stars, or light that we've taken from the heavens to help us navigate ashore when things seem dim or when constellations like Cassiopeia are out of reach? Maybe I've always been navigating by the light of other stars without realizing it, with light harnessed from the sky or given as a gift so that I could learn how to navigate across the seas, squalls and clear skies that make up my life.
As I look ahead and think about returning home, and returning to a place where the stars embody both familiar and unexpected forms I can't help but consider who and what will take these shapes. What new constellations will I discover? What constellations will I rediscover and find myself moving towards? Which stars will shine brighter than before? Who or what will be a Pole Star, around which everything else orbits? To whom will I turn to for light and guidance, warmth and direction when Sirius and Aldeberan are clouded or beyond the horizon? What new light and beauty will I find in the star that I have already been following?
- Tyler Barron, B-Watch, Sailing Intern