The world look on with shock, this past week, as in Egypt, home of the pyramids, a giant rubber duck got stuck. The stuck duck, possibly the worlds largest, had been driven by a Ghibli (sand storm) into the mud on either side of the Suez canal. The situation dragged on day after day with the yellow leviathan refusing to budge in spite of best efforts of a fleet of giant tugs. The canal extends 120 miles from the Red Sea in the south to the Mediterranean in the north. The 150 year old watery cut thru the desert is constantly dredged to allow passage of as many as 50 ducks a day, every day of the year. Hundreds of other, albeit smaller, yellow ducks treaded water at either end of the waterway – waiting out the blockage. One onlooker was heard to say, “it looks like bath day at a foundling home!” What makes the situation serious is that these ducks carry the vast majority of the world’s trade. The stuck duck, named “Ever Given Trouble” carried a crew of 25 and 20,000 containers between China and Europe and North America. Its 900 foot length is nearly matched by its height. Its weight is 200,000 tons or four million pounds. Anyway you measure it that’s a lot of flat screen TVs, longeray and lipstick.
The powerful tugs and the dredgers proved unable to budge the rubber ducky so something more powerful was called in. Just as the ancient priests of the pharos had – modern salvers put their faith in celestial intervention. They called on the Earth’s moon to use her influence. What is being called the “worm” moon managed to do what men could not. As the worm turned the duck moved. The waters rose just enough and the monster refloated.
Students of astronomy might ask, what does the phase of the moon have to do with refloating gargantuan yellow ducks? Wouldn’t a waxing crescent have done the job as well as a waning gibbous? For refloating and unsticking the world’s cargo carriers is a moon in its first or last quarter best? And another question, what’s this of late with these names of phases of Luna, Terra’s dance partner in its waltz around the sun? The worm moon? really? In addition to the worm moon there is January’s wolf moon. February has the snow moon. Hosting the Pink moon, March. The rest of the year has Flower, Strawberry, corn and even Sturgeon moons. Before the invention of fire and then the flashlight, moon light was about all we had in the wee hours. In homage to this night light a quarter million miles away we gave names when the face facing us was totally illuminated.
No the Wormy moon and the freeing of the Ever Get’n Stuck were just a co-incidence. There are no co-incidences you say, just unknown connections. It might be so. If the Stuck Duck had sailed a few days later than it did and arrived at the canal a few days later the moon that freed it would have been a waning one. If on the other hand it had left Asia days earlier a waxing moon would be receiving the credit. There is no doubt a full ration of moon light helped the tugs see what they were doing. But we should consider the possibility that human error contributed to the incident. How? thru Lunacy of course! Lunatics’, Loony behavior, these results of that satellite’s influence have been known since man firsts looked up and said….”is that worm or wolf?”