Day three on our way to Portsmouth. The sun was kissing our cheeks and everyone was in a jolly mood when we, in the port watch, started our work on deck. Today’s work mostly consisted of maintenance in the form of painting and removing rust and from the deckhouses. You are always amazed over how much rust there is to get rid of since it is one of the things we do most often here on-board.
Anyways, about one hour in to our watch all classes down under deck were abruptly cancelled and all students were called up on deck. No alarm had gone off, nothing bad or any emergency had happened, the crew had just planned to do a routine check of our living areas. This is done every now and then to make sure that everything looks good and that we do not have any unknown problems. Everything seemed all right and the students were allowed back down again.
Not long after that, our watch had come to an end. As usual we had classes and then a few hours of free time. Most of us spend that time sleeping or working on school assignments before getting ready for the second watch of the day.
In the midst of the night watch, practising setting the sails, a quick light flashed upon deck. Imagine the light when you accidently turn on a flashlight, that fast strong light that confuses everyone. If it had been a flashlight we wouldn’t really had been shocked because our watch leaders often use them to check if the sails have been set right or if something has gotten tangled up in the rig. But this time this wasn’t really the case. What we saw, what it now was that shone on the deck, was no human creation.
The only one who actually saw what it was that caused the flash was Adam, our watch leader on the 12-4 watch. He said it was a gigantic star falling, which in reality only is a meteor or stone tumbling through the earth’s atmosphere. The light we see from the ground is the stone burning up from the friction created when it’s being dragged in by gravity and if the meteor is large enough, and falls with enough speed, a so called halo can be seen. This is what Adam saw; a huge, green halo crossing the night sky that glowed so brightly that it looked like someone turned the light on. When the halo went out, and the fall itself had stopped, a trace was left, white against the dark sky.
And as if nothing had happened, as if the entire watch hadn’t stopped what they were doing, we continued setting the sails.
A. Medin, Port