It was one of those moments that have to be seen to be believed. The late evening air in the summer time Baltic was as warm as toast. I was quite alone, out on the aft terrace of the Panorama Lounge aboard the stunning Silver Whisper, on the last night of a brilliant, week long sweep through the highlights of the region. Most people had already headed down for one last, splendidly lazy dinner. Me, I hung back for a little while.
I’m so glad that I did.
This amazing, visual feast slowly unfolded in front of me, flooding my senses with a sight so wonderful and mellow that it made for a visual banquet, one seemingly laid on only for me. With no muzak polluting the air waves, the only sound was the heaving, low surging, gun metal gray rollers of the ocean, as the sun turned it into what looked like a sea of blazing straw,
Time itself seemed to stand still. I hardly dared breathe, for fear of shattering the rare, fragile beauty of the moment. It was a scene so vivid, one as fragile as glass. A moment that would possibly never, ever be repeated. And yet today, it is seared into my soul and my senses as indelibly as if I had been branded, sealed there forever.
And, of course, Silversea and champagne go together as seamlessly as Rodgers and Astaire. Glacially cold, bubbly, and tremendously life affirming right at that moment. No other drink would have done justice to such a stunning moment. It seemed to me that Mother Nature deserved a toast, and so….
I lifted the glass in the direction of the sunset and, as if predestined, the fiery, slowly setting sun ghosted right across the centre of my flute, burnishing it with a fabulous, golden sheen that simply took my breath away.
It was a stunning, spontaneous moment, unscripted and unbidden. But it sprawled across my senses like a slowly unfurling red carpet; a compelling, almost hypnotic pastiche that will stay with me until the day that I die. The sheer, serene solitude and yet, at the same time, the feeling of being totally at peace, at one with everything around me, was as deep and profound as the ocean itself.
And if you wonder why I still travel after all these years- and sometimes even I still do myself- well, this photograph should go a long, long way towards answering that question.
A single moment. An endless voyage. Here’s to the next one….