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Moonsets or Sunsets?

By The Ithaka - Published June 30, 2006 - Viewed 2342 times

Moonsets or Sunsets?

Now this is question made us reminisce and wonder, so we're grateful to 14-year-old Alicia R. in Perth, Australia. "My family and I are going cruising next year, and we read your Logs every other week, and I'm wondering, which do you like better, the moonsets or the sunsets?"

From Douglas: Before we went cruising, our friend Andy on Raven gave us a boatload of advice. The best thing he said was, "make sure that at sunset, no matter what you're doing, just quit doing it, sit down, be quiet for a while, and look westward." This was good thinking. There's something otherworldly about the sun melting into a puddle and spreading across the sky.

But moon-sets of the full moon have captured my heart. They're less common and no where near as loud. They can even offer a sweet boredom in their deliberate descent. They're not leading up to something special; there's no tension of waiting for a flashy green finale. A Full-Moon-set just is what it is. If the event's in the early morning, in daylight, there's no aftershock of colors, no ripples, no applause, just a gradual, magical fading away. If its pre-dawn, the setting moon quietly slips into the arms of Morpheus and takes you along.

On our evening trip to Cuba last year, the full moon set at about 4:30 a.m. when we were 25 miles north of Havana. I was sad to see her leave. Her light had been more than just an aid for vision; she'd been company, and once gone, the sky became black. I wrote in our log "Now there's only the glow from our compass, the nav lights and the little flashlight that covers a few words at a time on this writing tablet. B is asleep. I'll wake her shortly for her watch, and the sunrise will be hers, but tonight, the moonset was mine."

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