strange Phenomenon that we've seen at sea - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 01-26-2011
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strange Phenomenon that we've seen at sea

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?
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Last edited by Boasun; 01-26-2011 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 01-26-2011
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We always enjoy the bio-luminescence at night. It's especially funny when you're doing a night watch, go into the head at dark, pump some seawater into the bowl and see the water glowing. The bio-luminescent wake behind the boat is also pretty cool.

When going from central FL to Charleston we sailed through a Navy battle group doing exercises at 2am. There were seven assorted ships plus a carrier. We didn't know what they were. I was on watch and saw them appear on radar. I called the wife up from her sleep - "I have a lot of contacts and could use an extra set of eyes". I did securite calls to make sure that the ships knew I was out there. I realized we were on a collision course with one of the vessels if we stayed on track so I tacked over. AS I was tacking I get a call on the radio, "Sailing vessel located at latitude xxx longitude xxx, this is US Navy Warship xx (with the xx being a number I don't recall). Please switch and answer channel 82." I've never talked on 82 before, but I switched over. "Captain, what are your maneuvering intentions tonight?". I quote myself here - "My intention is to not hit you.". Response - "Hold your course and we'll avoid you captain." I was pretty amazed they didn't tell me to scram. It was incredible watching these huge ships charging past us on either side (displaying lights that certainly didn't follow any Coast Guard regulations I've seen, like the flashing green light [like a police car light] on the aft deck of one). Anyway - not a strange phenomenon, but not something you see every day.
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Old 01-26-2011
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Mid Pacific a crew member reported a very bright cruise ship approaching. It was the moon rising.

A great many one foot squares of plastic, I though some boat was head throwing them overboard.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Blue Whales, about three miles off of Hermosa Beach, a few months ago. A pair of them did a simultaneous flukes-up dive about 100m from me.

A bazillion flying fish desperately trying to get away from a school of tuna. Gliding until the lower lobes of their tails just touched the water, then propelling themselves with only their tails in the water fast enough to glide again.

Just about every plankton tow I've ever done in the coastal waters. The diversity of critters in one 5 minute haul never ceases to amaze me.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Old 01-27-2011
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I'm not sure that anything I've seen is truly "strange".

A few things I've seen were a swordfish bill embedded in the anechoic rubber tiles on the side of my submarine, enormous sea turtles in the port of Jeb Al Ali, a phosphorous "wake of fire" from my patrol boat over in Fujairah. I've stood on the "roof" a couple of times. We rolled a pilot whale off of the bow of a submarine once. Didn't seem to hurt him, just disoriented him for a moment.
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Old 01-27-2011
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A day so calm in the Caribbean that the smoke trail from the ship lay on the water astern. (Stacks vented through the transom) A rainbow at sunset. Swam with wild dolphins. A whole mess of green bugs flying across LI Sound (16+ miles). Continuous lightning. A tall ship coming out of fog off NY, looking like a ghost. A 210' cutter rolling so far that she dipped her flight deck. Many sharks on a hot day off NJ.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Horizontal hail. I don't know how unusual this is, but I hope to only see this once. (Like getting pasted in the face with a bucket of gravel).
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Green flash a few times, turtle once, best ever was a clear but humid day with good visibility, sun low towards horizon. I thought I saw smoke from a boat on fire, it was a large whale (probably a blue), looking around there were 6-8 groups of great whales visible because of the huge clouds of their blow. They were MILES off in all directions. Lot of Sun fish around here from dinner plate to manhole cover size.
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Old 01-27-2011
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All the great stuff I've seen is nothing that all of you haven't seen at least once. However it is the reason that I've always been drawn back to the water since 95 when I gave up working on bulk carriers on the Great Lakes.

If pressed, I'd have to say that riding a 730 up the flight locks in the Welland Canal is pretty cool.
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