While I was away in India, Laurie met a nice retired couple on a power boat, John and Val who befriended her and fed her at a local establishment. By the time I got back to Ireland, they’d left, leaving their boat on the hard in Bangor while having some work done this winter.
We caught up with them again when we arrived in the Isle of Man, enjoying dinner aboard Toodle-oo! followed by a movie at the local Centenary Centre and then yesterday they treated us with a ride around the island to Castletown, followed by dinner at their beautiful house just about 10 minutes out of Peel.
John retired from the Telecoms industry where he was involved in Fibre Optic design stuff – including many other things as far as I can make out! Val has taken up painting in her retirement – with great success! They started boating in the late 90’s and now traipse around the UK during the summer months. They also use their boat for surveying the local Whale, Dolphin, Shark and probably other species of animal in the Irish Sea – and John can credit himself with getting the Man and UK governments to recognize that these animals not only live in the Irish Sea, but thrive and therefore need to be recognized (so that they can then enjoy a measure of protection).
John is a mine of information – about most things it seems – but his involvement in optics has probably led him to a specific appreciation for solar and atmospheric phenomena. So when he started spouting about the Green Flash and other related phenomena, I did my normal routine of poo-hooing – since I’ve never seen such a thing and don’t believe in them. (Despite other good friends – Peter, Diane – assuring me of it’s existence.) Next thing I know, the books are out and John is documenting all the effects. Not only that, but his house is positioned in such a way that it has almost perfect alignment to observe the Green Flash from. And so it was, in the middle of dinner, we abandoned our plates and were treated to witnessing a magnificent green flash, immediately after the sun dropped behind the ocean. Wow! I can even explain now at least in layman’s terms) how and why it shows up!
John also shared other interesting things with us: How to follow our path using a website to track our AIS (when it’s turned on): http://marinetraffic.com/ais and then he explained a way to tie a boat up in a slip such that you have no need of fenders (nor their potential to ruin the side of the boat! Shall be out there after breakfast to try it out! The pictures of him standing on the left and then the right of some quartz – are demonstrating standing on the European geological plate and then the American plate – the fault line being marked by the quartz (and the crack).
It’s really nice to be welcomed to an unfamiliar place by strangers – it’s another when they turn out to be so warm and knowledgeable. Getting to see the Green Flash was something I never expected – and to do it almost on demand was spectacular! We met as strangers, left as friends and hope to bump into John and Val again as we head north to Scotland next year.