She’s a true professional, and won’t even get out of bed before midnight. At 3am she stirs, just a glow in the north-eastern sky behind us, like the ambient light of a city in our wake. An hour later she’s just visible, peeking over the blanketing horizon, scrutinising her nocturnal dominion, slithering through the folds of the ocean.
Suddenly, she emerges, fully decked out, all sequins firing and the band in full swing. She rises high and fast, shimmering in the sky like liquid gold, so bright she casts a silvery reflection on the sea, a secret sun shining in the dead of night.
We’re not alone. That old lightman the moon is waxing, hanging around like a spare wheel but working wonders in the ambience department. Orion is doing his same old trick: plunging headfirst over the horizon from a standing start: it never gets old. Occasionally the scorpion comes out, and sometimes, at the right time and in the right light, you can see Alpha Cantauri on the south horizon, the pointer on the cross promising all the riches of the southern oceans.
Sadly, the Milky Way chorus-line has taken the night off – you can blame the moon – leaving a dedicated skeletal cast working the moves. The backdrop’s not what you think either. Far from the deep blue velvet we see at home, tonight everything is draped in a luminous olive green. The salty haze of the ocean gives the lights some atmosphere to bounce off, and it’s really all just hallucinogenically beautiful.
Venus is getting higher now, higher than ever. She’s still burning with astonishing intensity, but she’s struggling, and this is how it always has to end: she never makes it to the final curtain.
Look back astern to the eastern horizon, from where she rose just a few hours ago: something’s coming. The sad truth is we’ve all been suckered, and Venus has been pimped. The sky’s lighting up like a prison break now, and before long the sun rolls in, fat and burning. The fluros come on, Orion’s long gone, the moon’s cowering and delights of the night give it up to the bright light.
The flying fish have breathed their last in the halyard bags and scuppers – they always have to overdo it – and you know just who’s job it is to clean them up. You feel hungry, but the smell is off putting and the star (we never call her a planet), well she’s not around anyway, so what’s the point? If there are dolphins, they’re no longer defined by their torpedo costumes made from streaming, phosphorescent clouds. They’re just big, friendly fish, here for shits and giggles, and they don’g give a damn.
Console yourself, it’s only Venus. Enjoy the sunrise.
Coming soon: epic video! While I finish off some editing, here’s a bit of raw dolphin footage.