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That moment: the winner of the water category is Catherine Lax of Newcastle upon Tyne.

A glowing memory

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I was a sailor: I had seen dolphins before, all over the world. But it's always a thrill when one pops up and swims alongside, and it never fails to raise a gasp from a first-timer.

We were about 2,400 kilometres into the Atlantic Ocean, about as far from land as we could be. The 12 crew on board had seen plenty of turtles, sea birds and a couple of whales in the distance but no dolphins as yet. Then, on a dark night, shortly into our six-hour watch, we heard a splash above the sound of our yacht cutting through the water. Over the side, the water was just darkness. And then it happened.

At first, it was just a sense that there were creatures close by, that sixth sense that tells you someone is behind you or is watching you. Then we saw the shape of a fast-moving dolphin entirely outlined in phosphorescence--we could see the shape of its nose and fins as well as its lithe body.

One after another, they raced past the boat beneath the surface, their bodies lit in an unbroken outline of glowing dots of life. They crossed under the bow, their outline still glowing several feet ahead. The first one jumped through the bow wave and its outline, sharp for a split second, dissolved into a shower of millions of tiny stars on the water. The second jumped and created the same illusion, a heavenly animal made of stars shattering into pieces.

The scene was utterly bewitching, and we were unable to stop watching, our attention transfixed as the sunrise replaced the phosphoric night.

I was moved beyond words by the beauty and synergy of nature and the energy it contained. It didn't happen again on that voyage--we were in a moment in time when boat, animal and conditions were right to create a piece of natural magic.

--PRIZES--

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Catherine wins a Craghoppers New World jacket and a week-long diving safari in the Egyptian Red Sea

Catherine will enjoy some of the best scuba diving in the world aboard the 30-metre MV Miss Nouran thanks to Scuba Travel Worldwide Holidays. Catherine will visit isolated sites far from the crowds, dive with hammerhead sharks and manta rays, and experience pristine coral reefs.

The Craghoppers New World jacket proves that waterproof clothing can also be stylish. The ladies' New World jacket is an ultra-cool contemporary tailored mac with stylish patch pockets and belt, while the GORE-TEX[R] Performance Shell garment construction gives it waterproofness, windproofness and breathability.

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Title Annotation:COMPETITION
Comment:That moment: the winner of the water category is Catherine Lax of Newcastle upon Tyne.(COMPETITION)
Publication:Geographical
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:431
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