Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. ~ Zora Neale Hurston ~
The Earth’s surface curves out of eyesight at a distance of 3.1 miles/5 kilometers if you are not standing on anything. This takes into account the average person’s height at sea level, the horizon and curvature of the earth. The higher you are, the farther away the horizon is. (NB: According to the physics geeks on the web 1.17 x square root of your elevation = distance in nautical miles)
It used to be on a clear day we would sometimes see ships that had passed through the canal transiting down the peninsula at high tide from our back porch where we are 2km away from the shore. The maritime laws have changed to protect the whales, turtles and dolphins that breed in our area and now, we rarely, if at all get a glimpse.
Recently, we were further down the peninsula, high up on a hill and looking out on to the ocean we noticed a cargo ship.
As we watched we noticed off in the other direction, but further out another ship. It seemed as if the ship that had the containers was moving faster than the white ship. Then, we thought that the white ship might have looked like it was going slower because it was further out. Then, we thought perhaps the white ship really was going slower because it was approaching the canal and knew it would have to wait several days to get through. Perhaps, the container ship was moving faster because it had come through the canal and was on its way to its destination. As you can tell dear reader, we were having an illuminating tête-à-tête, much like the sandwich conversation. We pondered where the cargo ship was going. Colombia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia?
The new lock for the expanded canal opens tomorrow. A Chinese container ship won the lottery to be the first official transit through the new lock. We wondered if the larger ships might be more visible.
As the light began to fade we speculated if the ships sounded their horns to each other as we sat and watched them pass until they both eventually vanished into the mist…in the campo.