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Crew Life

Crew Compass: Yacht crew enjoy a front-row seat at nature’s greatest displays

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Crew Compass: by Lauren Loudon

My favorite thing about being at sea is nature’s unpredictable pattern.

There are few things on this Earth that can compare to sitting out on the open ocean in the late afternoon, floating by on a boat with the sound of waves rolling along and water splashing as the sky slowly starts to change color. Watching the sun gently sink toward the horizon as the clouds glisten in their misfit shapes of fluff that resemble squishy marshmallows and bundles of candy floss is, somehow, even more of a treat each time.

Then the color palette starts to mix,  and the bright blue of the daytime sky slowly becomes an array of pastel blues with gentle shades of peach, pink and coral from the setting sun. The colors deepen with every minute that goes by. The peaches become oranges and the coral gets richer, before the sun itself enlarges to a giant ball of utter beauty. From here on, the whole sky is radiant and everything is bold, bright and nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful.

Photo by Lauren Loudon

The best sunsets are when figures and features lying in the distance form silhouettes in the shadow of those wonderful colors. Sailboats are pretty, islands also create perfect Kodak moments, but the hardest to beat has to be the unpredictable blur of the day’s clouds. Each day is different, every perspective is new and all the views are unique.

Of course, the same goes for those glorious mornings as the sky gently lightens and eventually the universe’s greatest bundle of joy starts to rise up over the horizon, opening a new door, beginning a new chapter. But somehow, there’s something so satisfying about watching the day slowly become night. Sunsets. Soul strengthening, uplifting and heartwarming. They are an unrivaled part of nature’s gift to us.

Aside from this, one of my favorite and most memorable passages was being out somewhere over the Grand Bahama Bank around 2 a.m. with not a single bit of land, boat or soul in sight – or on the AIS. All of a sudden, a bright flash of light came from behind me and a loud roar of thunder followed quickly. I turned around and watched the sky light up in an incredible flash as a lightning bolt ran all the way down to the sea in an almost perfectly straight line. I reached for the iPad that was in the bridge and snapped the most flawless photo of the moment, allowing me to keep it close as a physical memory.

Ahead was as clear as can be, while behind us the horizon was black and moody as the storm grew more and more aggressive in the distance. Knowing I was completely safe, heading away from the gnarly looking weather, I was mesmerized at such a scene and could never imagine finding a storm so beautiful while on land. Blown away, once again, by the incredible patterns that nature is capable of.

Lauren Loudon has worked as a yacht chef and stew for more than four years. She hails from Lancashire, England. Comments are welcome below.

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