Stunning extravaganzas often strut their stuff in the middle of the ocean at that late time of day when sun kisses sea. Perhaps these are distinctively different from other sunsets since the events are unencumbered by the voodoo of terrestrial interference. The palate is only water and air meeting way out at sea. This atmospheric gumbo of light, energy and molecular moxxy delivered sunsets that I never witnessed before. It was one of the many payoffs I received putting myself in that unique, but vast, place of only water and sky.
Take, for instance, these two photos of the same sunset. They are blue, frigid and frighteningly beautiful. To me they conjure images of the North, perhaps the Arctic. Strangely, this sunset was at the end of our third day while Coral still was sailing through the Tropic of Cancer.
This sunset featured cirrus clouds, wispy strands of delicate cotton adrift at 20,000 feet. The air was warm, the seas calm. The crew, short sleeved and comfortable, laughed and ate dinner on deck. The cirrus was an early warning, however. These clouds are often the prelude to new weather systems, usually ones where conditions deteriorate. By this time the following day there were black skies, disturbed seas and growing waves. Coral was about to face the first of three major storms that we encountered during the 16-day voyage.
Not everyday ended with an entertaining sunset. Storms of the Atlantic ensured that. But on those evenings of fine weather, mother ocean and father sky collaborated to show the endless beauty or our big blue marble in images of color and form that I will never forget.