The Green Flash

Cornish Hens, at Anchor on the Back Side of Tortola and the Green Flash

The Green Flash in Santa Cruz

Big green flash” by Brocken InagloryOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

I’ve done a lot of sailing vacations with friends and family, and quite a few with my dearest friends Pam and Dan. We actually had a sailing vacation every year for almost a decade! They are some of my most cherished memories, which are so apt, as the name of our sailboat was CHERISH! This particular evening we were anchored off the back side of Tortola in a small bay off of Great Camanoe Island. This particular day happened to be my birthday. The guys were fishing, and they caught the most beautiful fish and wanted to cook it, but I was pouting and feeling bad because the fish was such a beautiful red, so they asked me what I wanted to do. They gave me the choice of cooking it or throwing it back into the bay. I chose to throw it back and proceed cooking the dinner I had planned. I made us a fantastic dinner of Cornish Hens with Fennel and Fettuccine. As we were dining on our cockpit dining table al fresco, Pam noticed a fantastic sunset in the makings and we all stopped eating long enough to catch the most beautiful sunset and my first, and unfortunately only, Green Flash. It was magnificent and we talked about it all that evening and for the next few days hoping we’d catch another the next evening and the evening after that. I am still hopeful I’ll be fortunate enough to catch another in my lifetime.

Check out our video for a brief explanation of this optical phenomenom…

The green flash sometimes occurs right at sunset. The conditions have to be perfect, and the green spot will be visible right above the upper rim of the disk of the setting sun. You have to be diligent and keep your eye on the prize because it comes and goes in a matter of seconds…. But always worth it! This phenomenon occurs because the atmosphere can cause light from the sun to separate out into different colors. The green flashes stem from slightly different causes, so they vary in optics. You may see brilliant red, blue and/or green flashes, and there always has to be some sort of mirage effect present.

I’m hoping that everyone gets to see at least one of these in his or her lifetime. They are truly wonderful. To have shared it with cherished friends and a yummy dinner was a true gift.

The Green Flash

Great Camanoe Island

Development of the Green Flash

Development of Green Flash” by Brocken InagloryOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Stages of the Green Flash

Inferior Mirage green flash” by Brocken InagloryOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
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