I did something that, curiously it now seems to me, I've never done before. I lay on the deck and looked at the moon through binoculars. I guess that the complete absence of light-polution and the clear atmosphere made it especially good but I was absolutely amazed to be able to see individual craters in the surface at just 50x magnification. Dianne came and had a look (accidentally hurting her black eye with the binoculars - more of that later) whilst I fiddled with the camera to try and get a photo. This is the best I could manage; it looked much clearer through the binoculars:
|My first astronomy photograph!|
We both noticed a bright white dot on the surface which you can see in the photo at about the 8 o'clock position, not far from the edge - the sun reflecting on a still-shiny piece of Apollo space junk, perhaps? I hope so.
The Moon, of course, is terribly important to sailors since it's the chief influence on ocean tides. Every fortnight, when Moon is either full or new, it lines up with the sun and the combined gravitational pull of the two pulls the sea towards it in a lump - the highest Spring Tide. At the opposite side of the earth there's another lump whilst half way its circumference round the water level drops. So, as the earth rotates you get a high tide, a low tide 6 hours later and another high tide 12 hours after the first. Spring tides, because of this combined gravitational pull, give very high high-tides and very low low-tides and, in between the two, all the water has to flood in and out between islands and around headlands as it finds its new tidal level so the current will be at its strongest.
A week later and the Moon and Sun won't be in line (they pull at right angles to each other) so the sea is influenced only by the Moon's pull; the highs and lows are less extreme and we get neap tides with weaker current flows. Generally, it's easier to do coastal navigation at these time but the downside is that, at night, you don't have much moonlight to see by. So there you go, a quick overview on tides!
Finally, on to Dianne's black eye. In the middle of the night a few days ago she got up to use the heads (loo) and, not wanting to wake me, didn't switch on the light and went to use the aft heads, which has a low doorway. You can guess the rest. She now has a pretty impressive shiner which, unfortunately, she won't let me photograph. The problem, apart from the pain she experiences with binoculars of course, is that it's considered rude to walk in to villages wearing sunglasses here so I may be wrong, but I do sense a degree of sympathy toward her from the locals and a few disapproving glances in my direction. My Fijian isn't up to "no, actually she walked into a door" however.