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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > strange Phenomenon that we've seen at sea
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-08-2011 06:40 AM
oldironnut
Phenomenon at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
While at sea, some of us have seen what could be described as strange Phenomenon at sea.
The green flash at sunset. Yes I've seen it about nine times over the years.
Requires clear air for it to happen. So looking toward a smog hazed horizon, it won't happen.

Water Spouts. In one afternoon saw six of them just east of the delta in the GOM.

Bright green flare (?). In the sea of Cortez seen one. vertically descending. Must have been a meteor.

Dolphins & Porpoises many times. Assorted species.

Sea turtles and a Sun Fish (a Moa). The Sun fish's upper fin looked like a large plank sticking out of the water, until we got close enough to view it in its glory.

Spinning shark. Once in the GOM

A Buoy floating in the middle of the atlantic Ocean. No idea what harbor it once guarded or came from.

Had a crewman report a fire on the horizon. If he had waited a few minutes he would have seen the upper limb of the moon come above the clouds. At that low altitude it appears fire red through the clouds due to smog.

A pod of Orcas feeding on the discards from the fishing vessel that I've captained in the Bering sea. Now that was something.

So what did all of you have seen out there?
I saw two sailboats going the same direction on different tacks less than 50 yards apart. Probably for less than a minute. Micro-burst?
03-07-2011 11:34 PM
Parclan It was 1982, I was aboard the Choctaw 1 - an offshore semi-submersible rig. We were about 50 miles off the coast of Angola, West Africa. While making my rounds at night, I spotted a very large looking worm, maybe 25' long, +/- 6" in diameter gently wriggling along beneath the surface - I could make out his opaque form out in the light shining down through the water. Water depth was about 500'. Maybe he came from down deep to see what all the commotion was about? Gives me the yips to this day....
02-26-2011 07:51 PM
JohnRPollard This is a great thread. Thanks for sharing all these interesting stories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
...
We were motoring (no wind) and I was at the helm at about 02:00. I noticed a green spark approaching us from dead ahead. At first I thought it was a cinder, blowing in the wind, but it was green. it looked to be about the size of a humming bird, and was the phosphorescent color of the jellyfish. What ever it was, it buzzed through our shrouds, then chased us for about a minute. It would fall away from our stern, then loop and approach us again. It was NOT a firefly, because it was way too big, and it didn't flash, but glowed steadily.

My watch mate and I looked at each other with a "WTF?" expression. We both saw it, and talked about it for a while. We never figured out what it was....
That sounds like a static electric charged ball, or "ball lightning". It doesn't always or necessarily occur during a thunder storm.

A plane my father was piloting was struck by a larger one over Scotland. It came in through the cockpit/nosecone, floated right down the center aisle of the plane, and exited through the empennage, blasting a hole in it. He had to make an emergency descent and landing in Prestwick. Passengers reported that the charged ball was about 18-24" in diameter.

Ball lightning tends to have a soft white/yellow/light green glow and is often mistaken for an apparition.
02-23-2011 04:38 AM
Omatako
Quote:
Originally Posted by HVVega View Post
"A Buoy floating in the middle of the atlantic Ocean. No idea what harbor it once guarded or came from".
I was single handing 400nm south of Indonesia and was down below, nothing around, no sign of shipping when suddenly a loud banging all down the side of the boat. I had collided with something and it sounded large.

Raced up on deck to find a radio beacon used by the long-liners in that part of the world to mark the end of their fishing line, bouncing along the side of the boat.

I nearly wet myself.
02-23-2011 04:24 AM
Omatako We've seen the green flash - no mistaking it, three people saw it, looked at each other and simultaneously said "Did you see that?".

One night, 2500 nm from the nearest land I woke the crew in the middle of the night to witness the most amazing light show in the water. Lights flashing brightly in a range of different colors, impossible to guess the depth and it went on for about an hour. It was only about a year later we discovered that it was a shoal of giant squid under the boat. Apparently that's how they communicate, they change the colour and intensity of the light continuously and flash messages to each other. Spectacular to watch.

Another thing which remains unexplained was north of Madagascar, we saw a line in the water with bright water on this side and dark water on the other side. We automatically assumed it to be a mini line squall. But then we noticed fish jumping along the line, not across it. And then a few dolphin that were obviously hunting the fish. Nothing crossed the line. But the strange thing is that the line went horizon to horizon. And even more strange, it didn't seem to be moving. We held our collective breaths as we approached it and . . . nothing. No difference in the wind, no sign of current, no change in course or heading, no change in boat-speed, no change in water temperature. We just sailed across it into the "dark" water and onwards. We looked behind and it was still there, dark on our side and bright on the other side. I did extensive research into it and still have no explanation.

Finally, another weird thing to see at sea is a full-on up-welling also called an over-fall. This happens when an underwater current is pushed up to the surface by a geological feature on the seabed. The sea surface literally boils around the boat. And the effect can be miles wide. We sailed through two of these on an Indian Ocean trip in 2004. And while you're in the confused water, the boat-speed assumes the speed of the now-surface current and it takes what feels like hours to sail through it. Bad news when it's going the wrong way which it was both times we got caught by it.
02-22-2011 02:23 PM
mcavacas This past fall we enjoyed a nice sunset in Rendevous Bay, St John, USVI. After the sun went down a small squall rolled in. When it passed a couple minutes later a moonbow lingered for about 20-30 seconds. It was just like a rainbow, except you couldn't make out any of the colors, just a perfect white ribbon hanging over the moon.

A few days before that we passed through a squall and the mist around the boat created a rainbow that started at the bow and end at the stern. Every time we tried to touch it, it would move just a little farther away, absolutely wild!
01-30-2011 12:11 PM
seafrontiersman Mirages in wintertime near shore can make a hilly headand seem like the Rocky Mountains and make large ships in the distance seem like little toy boats.

On New Years day I was sailing in the St. Johns River just below Green Cove springs and the bridge going across the river appeared to dip UNDER the water!

Wicked cool!
01-30-2011 06:20 AM
HVVega
Strange sightings at sea

Great thread thanks for starting it. OK here we go:

"A Buoy floating in the middle of the atlantic Ocean. No idea what harbor it once guarded or came from".

I was skippering one of the tall ships in the 1982 tall ship races when one morning the deck watch reports that we were arriving at the marker. Hummmm .... thinks I, were in the middle of no where here. We were well off the Florida coast about the level of Cape Kennedy. Went up on deck and sure enough there was a bright red - lit - buoy with a big number 4 on it around three stories tall about 100 meters off our port side. We watched it for a while then I marked its position to report it later. Wonder if it was the same one? I'll post a few more over the next few days.
01-29-2011 12:30 PM
GeorgeDog
Quote:
Originally Posted by DustyM View Post
GeorgeDog, you guys must have been a LONG way from the boat if the sunset caught you by surprise, considering twilight lasts about a month up there.
I've wondered over the years why my impression at the time was of a fast fading light. It could have been as simple as the light levels started dropping quickly when the last of the sun dropped below the horizon and we thought we had to hustle. Since there was nobody in the group with experience in polar sunsets (and I mean right at the pole) we wouldn't have known that it would be twilight for longer than the hour you get back home. We learned some other things the hard way when we first hit the ice do to lack of experience (not suitable for discussion here). While memories are sketchy at this point the one thing I remember clearly is the sudden realization that the sun was not coming back when the last bit winked out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DustyM View Post
And I wish you'd have taken some pictures of that California Sea Lion you describe at 90*N.
/Damned biologists
//Spent 5 years on the ice studying seals
I don't have any in my pictures but I'm in contact with some of the guys over on Facebook so I'll ask if they do. One of them did post a pile of pictures of that trip and I kept wondering how come I wasn't in a single shot. Months later I was going through a shoebox and found the originals. I completely forgot I had taken the pictures and given him copies.

California Sea Lion seems like a fancy name for something that looked like an ordinary seal but I'll take your word for it. He was incredibly tame though. He walked (is that what you call it?) up the back of the boat and was perfectly happy hanging out with the crew topsides. The best part was his expression when he'd put his ear to the deck and listen.

Of course this was the cruise that we ran out of coffee two weeks after leaving port for a 70 day plus mission so it's entirely possible that all of this was a hallucination.
01-29-2011 11:58 AM
DustyM GeorgeDog, you guys must have been a LONG way from the boat if the sunset caught you by surprise, considering twilight lasts about a month up there.

And I wish you'd have taken some pictures of that California Sea Lion you describe at 90*N.

/Damned biologists
//Spent 5 years on the ice studying seals
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