Olhão Channel looking towards Faro, Portugal, 2016 © James Marinero

A sunset marks the end of every day wherever you are on Earth.

No, not quite. If you are within the Artic or Antarctic Circles when it is local summer then there is no sunset, give or take a few degrees of latitude. But that discussion is for another day.

How many sunsets will you actually see in your life?

Most of your sunsets will be hidden by buildings, cloud, sheets of rain or even blizzards. Many will just pass you by because you busy are doing other things — looking at a computer screen, giving someone CPR, drinking beer in a bar, going up — or down — in an elevator. Another sunset has passed you by. Another day has ticked off in your life.

And that’s only if you are actually aware of what a sunset is.

Some children grow up without any sense of sunset. Think about that.

Marking Sunsets

For most military forces, Sunset is formally marked daily, whether the sunset is actually visible or not, and sunset requires a ceremony. “Sunset”, also known as the “Retreat Call”, is a bugle call played in United Kingdom and British Commonwealth countries to signal the end of the official military day. For many armed services personnel, the sunset ceremony is a moment of reflection and will recall fallen comrades and absent friends as the national flag is lowered, even on naval vessels in harbour.

How many sunsets will you mark or even record? You might be lucky and notice one when stuck in a traffic snarl-up but will you remember it?

Sunset is also a term used for those who are in the later stages of their lives. ‘He is in the sunset of his life’. Of course, that period may last several years but how many will you remember when you are in the sunset of your own life? Count your own sunsets and remember the special ones. I have about 35 so far, in pictures.

Special Sunsets

And what about special sunsets? The so-called ‘green flash’? The conditions have to be just right, with a clear atmosphere for many miles beyond the western horizon, low humidity and no dust. And then, if you are lucky, you will see a very brief green flash as the upper limb (the very top) of the sun dips below the horizon. I’ve been lucky enough to see the green flash on five occasions, in various places around the world. I even managed to capture one on video.

And what comes after sunset?

Some years ago, one evening when I was at sea, one of my crew who had been brought up in London and was new to sailing, pointed to the eastern horizon where a faint glow was becoming visible and asked me “What’s that glow there skipper?”

“That’s the moon just starting to rise.”

That’s another story for another day.

My sunsets Check them out and tell me which is your favourite. These are my favourite sunsets because they each have a memory for me, a point in time, a day in the life. Thirty five or so, approximately 1/750th of the sunsets in my life so far. How many I missed! My sunsets