Give me a starry midwatch and I’m happy.

We laugh that being underway is often like living the same day over and over again. Patrol days all tend to melt into each other, and before long I can’t remember if a certain event happened this year or last year and who was onboard for it. Once in a while something occurs on watch that etches it into memory and those are the days I think about when I describe patrols to my landlubber friends.

Last week I took the midwatch (from midnight to 4 AM), and when I appeared on the Bridge I was blown away by the clarity of the skies. The sheer number is mind boggling, especially when you realize how small and insignificant a little white-with-an-orange-stripe boat is tooling around the ocean.

I relieved my roommate and she ducked below and reappeared ten minutes later with one of my stargazing books. Many midwatches are spent telling funny stories, but this one was spent pouring through different books to identify constellations. I’m no astronomy expert, but I am fascinated by the stars, who named them, and how something that clearly looks like a squiggle appeared to someone else as a dragon named Draco. So four hours was spent discussing what stars we could see, exactly what a light year is, and the difference between red giants and white dwarves. On a nice night out here, you can get a great view of Capella in the constellation Auriga. Did you know it’s the sixth brightest star in the sky, only 45 light years away and is 80 times brighter than the sun? Cross your fingers it’s out tonight!

– LTJG Crystal Hudak
Blog Mistress