Imagining Darwin 5: The Luminous Ocean




From Darwin’s Beagle Diary:

October 24, 1832

The night was pitch dark, with a fresh breeze.— The sea from its extreme luminousness presented a wonderful & most beautiful appearance; every part of the water, which by day is seen as foam, glowed with a pale light. The vessel drove before her bows two billows of liquid phosphorus, & in her wake was a milky train.— As far as the eye reached, the crest of every wave was bright; & from the reflected light, the sky just above the horizon was not so utterly dark as the rest of the Heavens.— It was impossible to behold this plain of matter, as it were melted & consuming by heat, without being reminded of Miltons description of the regions of Chaos & Anarchy.—


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