So it’s no surprise that the internet is chock full of stories from people claiming to be Mariners, Fishermen etc. Sailors of old believe in Sea Serpents, Krakens and all sorts of nasty underwater beasties. Has anyone ever seen anything even remotely close to something like this? Had a friend who mentioned seeing Bioluminescent Dolphins, likely caused by Algae. That seems pretty creepy.
I saw a C/E admit he was wrong once.
I guess I may as well share my own story. When I was a younger fella I went on quite a few vacations with my parents to Portugal. I had been reading alot about reptiles and particularly about Saltwater Crocs. Obviously there are no Saltwater Crocs in Portugal, but my young mind couldn’t fathom that.
I was on the beach with my dad sitting a ways away getting some sun. I went into the water about 5-6 meters and saw this long, dark object a few meters away in the surf. Being young and curious I started walking towards it and it was clearly moving towards me!
I immediately recalled everything I had read about Saltwater Crocs, and was immediately convinced this is what I was facing. As I turned to head back to the beach this thing smashes me in the back, I let out a yelp and ran to my dad crying my eyes out. This is as close to walking, or more aptly running on water that I will ever get. Don’t remember if I cr**ed my pants but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. As I approach my dad (Vietnam Veteran, LT who isn’t one to laugh much) was cackling with laughter.
Turns out it was a log…
Don’t judge me
Sailed to Saudi for the first Gulf War. Being our first major outing since Vietnam, tensions were high. Lotsa rumors of secret weapons, WMDs and other nastys. As we entered the Straits of Hormuz, late at night, the sea was lit up. All I can say is that it looked like a flashing checkerboard. Apparently, it was some type of bioluminescense. Bright enough to read by. Scared the crap outta everyone. Lasted about an hour. . . then blackness.
The subject was discussed a few years back on this forum and was titled Marine Lightwheels.
I have seen what may be called “Atmospheric” conditions off of Key West. .Am as sane as the rest of you perhaps. That thing was hauling ass across the horizon. It only lasted a few seconds. 2 witnesses on the bridge.
I saw the ManBearPig swimming through the Panama Canal.
Saw a moonbow once which was weird.
When I was a young kid “Born in Florida” I saw a cigar shaped metallic object flying across the sky.faster than any plane I had ever seen. Asked my teacher what it was and she just goes “Oh it must be an experimental plane”
To this day I am convinced I saw an “Atmospheric Condition”
Cheers Dutchie, saw your post there. That phenomenon would have terrified me, almost seems as if you guys were in the center of an impending waterspout or something of that nature. But when you mentioned that other ships had experienced the same phenomenon, that’s even creepier. Maybe some sort of Algae?
I was doing some scuba work scrubbing my boat when something sharp poked me. ??? At first I thought I kicked a piling with a nail in it. I heard some noise going on too. Then I felt it again. What the… Then I felt claws digging hard into my leg and pulling me back I dove down and swam about 50 yards at warp speed - must escape sea monster. I surfaced and popped up to see what was after me and it was a dog
By this I mean sailing with ships propelled by steam or engine power. It is a fact that the sightings of the Marine Lightwheels all date back to the time these ships appeared on the oceans. There are no sailing time reports. Responsible for the Lightwheels is probably the propellor of the ship which excites the dinoflagellates with a frequency of about 330 Herz (the number of propellor blades times the rpm i.e. 3 x 110).
Given the above, it is clear to me that the phenomenon has to do with the mechanical excitation or agitation of a golden brown plankton species or dinoflagellates that are common in the oceans. As of April 16, 2005, I have corresponded with Dr. Michael Latz of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of the University of San Diego that specializes in luminescent plankton. I have described the phenomenon and expressed my suspicion that it must have something to do with the acoustic sounds generated by the main engine and propeller blades in the seawater. His answer follows below.
Thank you for your interesting letter. The phenomenon you observed is called a phosphorescent wheel, and is best known from observations in the Indian Ocean. I have attached a pdf file of a paper by British scientist Peter Herring that you will find interesting reading. Basically, the vibration from the ship is resonating such that it mechanically excites dinoflagellates around the ship. You are correct that the phosphorescent wheels were unknown prior to the use of engines in ships. I would expect that flow agitation at the bow and in the wake would be much brighter than in the spokes of the wheel. So you got it correct!
Absolutely fascinating, thanks for sharing this Dutchie.
Where is Al Gore when you need him most?
I mean, Saint Elmos Fire is pretty cool to see
Does the Captain and CE agreeing that they were both wrong count?
St Elmo’s fire is pretty cool, but a little wired during the day time on a tanker when you can’t see it and everything is hissing/buzzing.
A phosphorescent wheel. Yup, that seems to be what it was. Thanks for the reference. . .I’ve wondered for 30 years.
In FEB 1961, I was on my fourth run South as a 14 YO Deck Apprentice of The Union Castle Line (what you did in the Line before you became a Deck Officer Cadet), on the RMS Carnarvon Castle (1926), on the normal Southampton - Cape Town run. She had had a distinguished career pre-1939, and during WWII as a armed merchant cruiser, fought the superior German commerce cruiser KMS Thor to a standstill 5 DEC 1940, badly damaged she repaired at Montenegro, Uruguay, with plate from the wreck of the Graf Spee. A piece of it used in refit post-war to provide a bulkhead on the passenger admission portal on the Portside, its damage and German markings making a great conversation piece.
In DEC 1943 she taken in hand in New York to convert to a escort carrier, but it decided to make her into a fast troop ship for the US military, which she was until 1947, then a migrant ship to Southern African, until a rebuild in Harland & Wolff in 1949, to a very high standard (216 first class, and 416 tourist) of accommodation for the Cape Town run. A very good sea boat and quite fast (cruising at 18 knots after the refit), and had been lengthened by 30 feet to 686 feet, with her 73 foot beam make her a even better sea boat, and fitted with the brand new concept of stabilisers. These modifications gave her a quite unique underwater signature.
Going South the Executive Captain inform that we were 30 nautical miles from Tristan da Cunha, where the fast motor boat was to launched to landed government officials and stores. And we could now see the island on the Starboard bow, all the passengers up with their cameras. At this point off the Starboard, what was initially thought to be a Blue Whale surfaced (no sounding) some 200 yards off. We travelling at 18 knots, it matching us in speed and staying alongside. In measurement in comparison to the ship some 300 feet long and very broad some sixty, blackly grey in colour, in appearance very much like a Whale Shark, which I thought so having seen them often off the sea entrance to Loch Ness in Scotland.
The motor boat launched with no problems, the Captain took her around the island to give the passengers a good look, the water round it deep, and dropping off into a very deep sea bed. The creature stayed alongside when the boat came back, then followed us South East down past Inaccessible Island, then vanished.
It was reported widely in the South African papers (Cape Town Herald, Johannesburg Star), and it the UK. The Times in London had a actual article about, referencing to previous sightings in the Southern Ocean, to the Portuguese and Dutch from the 1500’s, right through Capt Cook to Shackleton in his 1916 voyage south.
In view of some of the very bizarre (and large) creatures washing up on the Tasmanian and New Zealand coasts over the past two years, I really do not think academia has the slightest knowledge of what lies down in those very deep waters!