42 Seafarers Detail The Creepiest And Most Incredible Things They’ve Ever Witnessed

If you’re a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, chances are you’ve imagined yourself sailing out on the open water at one time or another. While those films don’t make the lifestyle of a seafarer seem very glamorous, they certainly do make it look exciting!

And apparently, it can be in real life too. One curious Reddit user recently asked sailors to share some of the creepiest and most amazing sights they’ve ever witnessed on the water, and they did not disappoint. From enormous sea creatures to incredible skies, you’ll find the most fascinating responses below, as well as a conversation we were lucky enough to have with Mahesh B. of Blogging Sailor. And be sure to upvote the tales that make you channel your inner Captain Jack Sparrow!


The northern lights in the middle of nowhere Alaska. We were anchored in a remote cove, so the CO agreed to turn off all the exterior lights. Just a crazy, crazy thing to see.

Image credits: Curbside_Hero


In the pitch black of night, in the middle of the vast emptiness of the sea; you see the stars filling the heavens, and more shooting stars than you would expect streaking to the earth with their firey tails. As your eye draws down to the water, you find that somehow the ocean is darker and emptier than the sky. Your eyes strain for a glimpse of anything, but ultimately you only catch glimpses of strange and mysterious creatures lithely swimming just beneath the surface occassionally peeking above the surface or triggering flashes of bioluminescence that disappear as suddenly as they appear.

Image credits: Timitz

To learn more about what it's like to work in the sea, we reached out to Mahesh B., a Chief Officer and the man behind Blogging Sailor. Mahesh was kind enough to answer our burning questions, first sharing what inspired him to become a sailor. "So it was 2005. I was in Kota, Rajasthan, preparing to crack the IIT entrance exam, which I knew that I could not, and I did not have any doubt about it," he told Bored Panda. "While on the other hand, my cousin had joined the merchant navy just one year before. And after completing his training in Mumbai, he joined his first ship while I was in Kota."

"Then he used to call me from ship and tell me stories about his training onboard, and stories of shore leaves he had gone," Mahesh continued. "Since it was his first ship, he was also very excited about everything. After hearing his side, I made my mind to join the same field. So I started my training in year 2008 and joined my first ship in December 2009. It’s been almost 13 years."


“ intrusive thoughts of jumping in” I used to work on a yacht and when I was on night watch I had this thought constantly. I thought it was super messed up, but now that I see this comment I’m happy I’m not the only one lol

Image credits: Train23


The first time i saw noctilucent clouds. I had no idea what i was looking at. It was surreal. Also Bioluminescent algey that makes a big glowing "jet" behind the boat.

Then there was the time i had 2 black hawk helicopters fly under the bridge i was currently under at 3am. I can't imagine that was sanctioned by thier co.

Image credits: You-Once-Commented

Mahesh went on to share that after many years on the sea, he has learned that it's hard for seafarers to decide where they prefer to spend their time. "Because when we join the ship, we miss home for more or less one week. But when we come back home, we miss the ship until the time we join it again."

"For me, the best part is that we get to meet new crew members every time we join a different ship," Mahesh says. "And thus apart from the work, we get to know about each other's cultures, listen to each other’s language, get to know about different festivals celebrated in their region, try new food and many other things."

"On top of that, money is there to remind us, 'don’t worry, I will take care of all your needs, you just keep working hard'," he added.


Being out at sea was definitely one of the best experiences of being in the Navy. I got to see the northern lights, a meteor shower, and a blood moon. My favorite pass time was identifying the constellations. Eventually when I got to learn a significant amount I was able to tell what direction we were going. I’m seriously grateful I got to experience that.

Image credits: ChiliConCarne44


You know the feeling of being in a full stadium? 10,000's of people all within sight of each other...all together? Multiply that by 100 and maybe that would be like the sea of sea mammals I was in the middle of, presumably on a bunch of food below...squid or something. There were half a dozen species of dolphin and half a dozen species of whales all together going completely crazy busting the surface white , hundreds of thousand I'm guessing. Going into the fo'c'sle of the small 42 ft lobster boat was like entering a different reality. Through the hull you could "hear". They were all "talking" to one another and I could say you could "hear" them but it was something else entirely...the bones in my skull and the rest of my body were vibrating at every frequency heard and sub and supersonic alike in alien rhythms and repeating patterns...a once in a lifetime sensation...lasted about half an hour. Highly recommended.

Image credits: fishified1

Mahesh noted that there's actually only one downside to being a sailor: being away from his family for prolonged periods. And when it comes to some of the most fascinating things he's witnessed while on the sea, Mahesh shared, "I have experienced, or I will prefer to say that most of the sailors must have experienced, the rough weather. Weather so rough that even after the main engines are on full power ahead (forward), the ship is moving astern (back). But still we have to keep the engines moving ahead only. Because if we stop the engines in such rough weather, we are gone."

Another fascinating experience Mahesh has had was going to the northernmost part of Russia. "The ports where we went were Vitino and Murmansk," he shared. "Our ship was in that area for around 14 days, and we never saw the sun setting over there. Even the ship’s GPS, which shows the sunrise and sunset time, was showing 'the sun never sets here' in that area."


Was on watch and a lookout reported a ship on fire on the horizon. Looked through my binos and saw what they were looking at. Looked like a plume of flame really far away, just over the line of the horizon. Went and consulted the Astro books and discovered that it was actually moonrise. ? The tip of the crescent was coming up over the astronomical horizon, and was bright red-orange. Still very cool.

I’ve also seen the Flying Dutchman illusion, dolphins swimming through bioluminescent waters that looked like glowing torpedoes, meteor hits near the ship, lightening hitting the mast, waterspouts in the Caribbean, and the green flash at sunset. Many more things as well, being at sea is just plain trippy!

Image credits: RiotousRagnarok


I sometimes work on a fishing boat during the summers for a bit of extra cash, and here's a few of my stories that you might be looking for. Keep in mind that some of them are dark.

1.) The Floater: Whilst fishing during the night, we heard something hit the boat. Now, of course, sometimes it's just some wildlife that couldn't see it in the dark, but we still went to look. I shone a flashlight into the water, only to see a person's body, face-up, floating there. Needless to say, I freaked the f**k out and nearly dropped the light. We reported it. Authorities came. We never found out what happened, but the theory we had was it was related to some sort of sinking, due to the life jacket they had on.

2.) The Fox: This one's not so scary, freaky, or dark. We were fishing close to an island, and saw something orange in the water. Now, my buddy thought it was just garbage, until it moved its head up. Turns out it was a fox. It came close to the boat, and I grabbed it and brought it aboard. Poor thing must have been treading water for ages, because it fell asleep in my arms. We released it on land after it had woken up.

3.) Palatine Sighting: Giving away where I live here, but in the area, there's a legend about a ghost ship known as the 'Palatine', otherwise known as the Countess Augusta or Princess Augusta. Its stated that the ship's burning mass can sometimes still be seen, and this is called the Palatine Light. We were out fishing. It was cold. We were all miserable. Then, a buddy of mine calls out that he sees another ship, and we turn. There, in the cold, we all swear that we see a ship aflame. We try to just chalk it up to the cold messing with our minds.

Image credits: InkblotDoggo

Mahesh also set the record straight about some of the misconceptions people often believe about sailors. "People think that in every port we just go out, roam around, see amazing places, meet with locals, drink like fish, enjoy local food, have fun with girls. Which I would say is not wrong, but not completely right either," he told Bored Panda. "Times have changed. Due to the busy schedules of the vessel and the COVID restrictions for past few years, if we get to go out even once in our complete contract of 6 or 9 months, we are lucky."

If you'd like to learn more about what it's like to be a sailor, be sure to check out Mahesh's site the Blogging Sailor right here!


I once saw a rainbow by moonlight. Sadly this was before digital cameras, so I had no chance of getting a picture.

Image credits: Mogster2K


Fresh out of college I got a job "In Cambridge, Massachusetts" or so they said...as an architect designing whatever. Ended up doing oil rigs and one beautiful morning there were Sharks going under the main platform like always but there were two dead sharks, next morning three new dead, then four the next day. Then a steady four or five a day for a week or two...they would float up under the see through deck that looked much like a metal colander. Crew would have to punch them down so the current could catch them with a large pole.

What made it really weird was they looked like they had heart attacks or died in their sleep, no marks or bites or anything. The guys on the rig had all kinds of theories. Then one morning while in a room that was completely submerged and had a beautiful view as we sat in a meeting...everyone got to see the reason the sharks were dying like viewing it on a movie screen.

This Octopus had made itself a home between the base and the deck. A shark was swimming by in a cruising fashion and we see these tentacles grab it right in front of the glass and snap it like a glowstick. The Marine Biologist smiled and said "Octopus is literally doing that to entertain themselves...like because he can". The Marine Biologist lowered a dive camera and this Octopus was HUGE.

The crew would joke about it thereafter, people would smoke on the deck at night and people would say don't let the Octopus in. Seeing those tentacles was just insane for their length and to think about how a shark is mostly muscle and the Octopus would just snap em was kinda scary.

Image credits: Cannotakema


Flying fish jumping through the netting between the hulls and cheese-grating themselves all over the trimaran OR racing catamarans in the Gulf of Mexico and the water turning purple as far as I could see from BILLIONS of jellyfish.

Image credits: Alpaca-Bowl420


It may sound simple, but being in the middle of the ocean at night, and being on a Navy ship means no exterior lighting.... You can touch your own face and never see your hand. Thats freaky... And then you start thinking about how you are just surrounded by thousands of miles of ocean on all sides.... That gets pretty freaky

Image credits: McFlyyouBojo


Giant spears plunging in and out of the sea.

In the gulf of Alaska, I have seen some s**t. But one of the most terror inspiring things I’ve seen are what can happen with some of the loose logs from the logging trade.

Sometimes when a big log gets loose from a raft, it becomes partially waterlogged and floats small end up. So you have this 4 foot diameter telephone pole in the sea, sticking up 40 feet into the air. No biggie. Shows up on radar, and easy to spot.

Now, give that pole 20 years of floating around or so. It rots in such a way that it becomes sharpened to a perfect point by wind and waves, and looks quite menacing.

Now, put it in a gale with 25 foot waves (50 feet trough to peak)

…. And it becomes a towering spike of death that shoots up from the sea every 15 to 20 minutes, out of nowhere, 60 feet into the air, only to plunge down into the dark depths waiting to skewer some unsuspecting boat in a few minutes when it thrusts out of the ocean again.

It is a genuinely terrifying sight, rare, but not so rare that I haven’t seen 2 in one season. It’s like the spiked d**k of neptune looking for an opportunity to f**k your s**t up in a particularly terrifying way.

Image credits: bidet_enthusiast


Huge numbers of dolphins in a line, "shoulder to shoulder", working forward presumably driving a school of fish.

It was like seeing a Roman legion marching to battle.

I generally love seeing dolphins but there was something quite daunting and slightly scary about seeing them work together in such a business-like way.

Image credits: princhester


The most amazing thing I've seen is watching the mountains in the sunrise while pulling into port in Norway. That was the moment I realized I was actually living. I don't think I'll see anything as majestic until I go back to Norway. Just beautiful!

Image credits: PierceDiLuna


My dad was competing in a marlin fishing comp near Weepa (the pointy top bit of Australia). Battled a fish for 4 hours (they catch and release). As it neared the boat, crew readied to haul it onboard and a camera team went in for the tight shot, hanging right over the edge. The marlin breached the water and then a huge Great White shark breached under it. Full length above the water, inches from the crews faces. Shark took the whole marlin, plus a big bite out of the boat. All caught on camera. Everyone was pretty shaken for a while after. I’ll never forget the pics of the bite mark, exactly like people do to crackers, with individual tooth marks, but a metre+ wide.

Edit to add: sorry, footage was the property of the TV station who was filming. I have an old VHS tape of it somewhere, I should get it digitalised. I’m betting there are plenty of similar incidences on YouTube though. Those fishing boats carry rifles for a reason.

Image credits: MadameMonk


Not a sailor neither was my dad but my dad was fishing and had a baby whale come up to his boat and bumped it a few times, that video is probably the most insane thing I've seen.

Image credits: Alive_1292


I was a Quartmaster and when I was in the pacific, I saw a completely clear night one time. I saw the Milky Way split the sky and I could see it’s reflection in the water. The sight was so beautiful it brought me to tears.

Image credits: mourningreaper00


Often times in the Navy id stand on the fantail and watch the ocean.

Once we had 100s, probably around 400 dolphins riding the carrier's wake. They followed us for 3 days.

In the middle of the Pacific, its so dark and theres so little light pollution, you can see reds, browns and faint blues of gas clouds in the starscape.

Another time i was watching the water at night, they say it draws you in, and it really does. You look at this pitch black void, with only the wake or turbulence of the water catching light, and intrusive thoughts of jumping in just naturally occur. Its mesmerizing, especially if youre alone.

At night during one of these events I saw blue glowing water (what I now know was biolumenescent algae) and inside this rather massive patch of blue glowing water were squid, that appeared to be maybe 15-20 foot long. You could catch their outline by the light from the water.

I stared at what was multiple squid passing by for minutes, what seemed like an eternity and then the light started going away in the spot i was staring. There was still a LOT of glowing water, we werent headed out of it. But this patch gets darker and darker and darker until pitch black. A solid 15 seconds of intense curiosity. Suddenly a lot of turbulence and a whale surfaces. It had snatched up all the squid.

The whale cocked to one side and looked at the ship, and our eyes met i want to think. It studied the ship for a moment until just sinking back down until the glow of the water masked it completely.

Image credits: Stehlik-Alit


Stationed on a Cruiser during Operation Desert Shield, we were working 12 on and 12 off shifts. Me and a shipmate would lay on the fantail in the morning with one of the deck hatches open, the red lights shining out. We had a stereo back there and would blast the Doors while hearing rush of water over the hull. It was really surreal as the sun would come up over the Persian Gulf, seeing the water like glass reflecting the sun as it rose. That will always stay with me.

Image credits: Imyotrex


Once when I was on a cruise, the hat I was wearing blew off my head and landed perfectly on the head of a random girl that happened to be standing about 10 feet behind me. Certainly not creepy but I thought it was pretty amazing.

Image credits: whitemanwhocantjump


Wild things can happen below deck. The engineering spaces are full of their own stories.

I was a mechanic on the USS Enterprise for several years. We conducted periodic maintenance on heat exchangers, which meant we opened them up to pull out gunk, hydrolance the tubes, and replace zinc oxide discs. When we did this on the main condenser, we'd find sea life in various conditions. Chopped up fish, crabs, shrimp, and pieces of unidentified animals. One time, we pulled out several larger chunks that we assembled on a work bench...it was a 4 foot porbeagle shark. It truly smelled awful, and our chiefs made us throw it overboard.

We had a few games to keep ourselves entertained. We had a running war against the other mechanics with slingshot, threw oily rags, ambushed then from the bilge, held bilge regattas for hand crafted boats, etc. The most risky game was called Danger Nut. You'd take a nut (fastener), slide it down to the base of a screwdriver, then spin it using low pressure air. Once it was spinning, you'd wing the LP air valve open and the nut would fly off the end of the screwdriver, bouncing off metal engine room equipment. Nobody usually got hit, but a little danger did wake you up on the 0200-0700 watch.

On rare occasion, we'd stop in the open ocean for a swim call, an event that was more trouble than it was worth. We'd line up in the hanger bay, jump off one of the aircraft elevators, and were supposed to swim to the fantail to climb back on board. The problem was that a lot of sailors in the US Navy can't swim. People would start floating off away from the ship and had to be collected by a small boat. We were hundreds of miles from shore.

Like others have mentioned, the ocean is pitch black at night. If anyone fell overboard, you'd better hope the few watchstanders were awake and paying attention, or nobody would ever know. But that made nighttime the right time to dispose of items we couldn't otherwise. Someone pushed the air crew's god damn hot dog cart overboard and the XO lost his damn mind. I still laugh about that s**t.

Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

Image credits: Freak_Meat


Creepiest would be underway on 31st October / Halloween day off maybe 15miles off the coast of Florida near Miami. Lookout sights a white house boat looks like it’s just drifting. So we get closer on our Fast Response Cutter (154’) to make contact with them. Nothing, no one responded used radio, loud hailer and ships whistle. So Captain said lets launch our small boat and go investigate. During the small boat mission brief I reminded everyone that it’s Halloween day and this looks just like a horror movie storyline. So the boat launches and the crew gets onboard. The doors are closed, but lucky open so the crew can investigate. The boarding team slow conducts its safety sweep while looking any crew onboard. So here is a house boat floating on the ocean with no land in sight abandoned. So the boarding team marked the vessel with spray paint and left it. House Boat is probably in Europe if it didn’t succumb to the relentless sea.

Another time in the middle of the night between midnight and 3am we start tracking a target of interest. We clearly see someone and at least two others on a cabin cruiser. The vessel is unlit which is a red flag and steady speed. So we follow it and decide to launch the small boat for pursuit once they are close to U.S. territorial seas. We run our small boat with lights off as well and have night vision goggles to help us see them. I pull up with 15’-20’ of the vessel and flip the blue lights and spotlight on them. No one is on the boat. All we see is a boat no one standing up behind the helm or on deck. So I creep up closer than all of a sudden we see arm hanging over the gunnel. The boarding team starts yelling show us your hands and stand-up. No one moved they were laying on-top of each other. So we get the boarding team onboard and start checking boat for safety. We transferred all of the 26 migrants off the 35’ boat on the Fast Response Cutter (154’).

Image credits: RBJII


I used to work on an Atlantic Salmon farm a few miles out to sea. Best job I ever had.


We were round at the second site (other side of the island to the main site, and this one was being left fallow for a couple years so just required some maintenance every now and then / was used for storage). Me and my brother were there late afternoon to check some ropes or moorings or something, I can’t remember, when all of a sudden there was this really strong electrical / copper smell and the place went silent. It was flat calm, relatively clear skies so it wasn’t a thunderstorm coming in. For some reason this smell really freaked us both out, and we both felt like we were being watched by something and there was a kind of strange feeling / atmosphere to the place where it just seemed off. After a couple minutes it went away and the “atmosphere” returned to normal. We were pretty glad to get back to the main site but never experienced anything like that again. Really weird.


This one is hard to describe, but sometimes we would have to pull super long 18-20 hour shifts at harvest time. This involved starting sometimes at 2am and working until late in the evening - there wasn’t actually loads of work the whole time, to do we just needed to be present for a lot of it and lift a cage net once an hour or so. So we mostly just stood around drinking coffee and talking bollocks.

Anyway I digress. We were starting out one of these mornings in the speedboat heading out to the site, on a really crisp winter night. Not a breath of wind, super cloudless sky and a hint of aurora above us. Speeding along into the night with my buddies in this beautiful scenery, nice fancy survival suits on to keep warm, I remember looking up and seeing a huge sky full of stars, and a shooting star burning across the sky out towards the horizon.

As I say I can’t really bring it to words, but I’ve never really felt more alive or happy in my work than that night.

Image credits: 89ElRay


Was standing topside watch on a dark night when the sky suddenly turned bright. For about three seconds something was incoming that lit all the weather decks up like daylight.

This sparked quite a reaction on the bridge and in operations. We were forward deployed during wartime although not in a region where active fighting was expected. For a moment people scrambled, fearing we had been targeted for a surprise missile attack.

Then the sky went dark again just as suddenly as it had began, leaving us safe and alone again. Yet there was still a whole bunch of commotion on comms as people jabbered stuff that amounted to *whiskey tango foxtrot.*

The only crew member who saw what had really happened was me.

"It's a meteor. It's a meteor. *It's a meteor.*"

Had to repeat the report several times before anyone paid attention. A meteor had come down almost directly above us, then broken up into three pieces as it burned up in the atmosphere. It was like a fireball.

That put on quite a lightshow in the the ocean on a moonless night at oh-dark-thirty in the middle of [expletive] nowhere.

Astronomers call these bolides. It might even have been a superbolide but it isn't on the list of recorded superbolides. We may have been the only ship that saw it.

Based on the time of year and the location it may have been one of the southern Taurids: a meteor shower that's noted for producing fireballs.

Not a whole lot of people ever witness a meteor that spectacular. By lucky coincidence I got a good view of this one.

(Edited from replying to a similar question two years ago.)

Image credits: doublestitch


In the USCG. Was in the the eastern Pacific in February 2017. The bioluminescence at night was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Sailing the Caribbean you get the glittering speckles in your wake, but in this water the stern wake glowed very bright. Almost made it pointless to be running darken ship. The bioluminescence was so much so that even fish in the water activated it. I remember a ghostly, glowing cloud silently move in toward us where we were taking it all in on the fantail. Then just as silently it moved away. We could see larger glowing clouds, likely a school of fish, then a glowing streak, maybe tuna or something come flying in to the glowing mass and the school would explode like fireworks underwater. Saw this occur a few times. It was amazing.

Another time we were in the Caribbean, middle of the night at flight quarters. I was on the fire party and we were staged on the f’ocsle. We were kind of bored waiting for the helicopter come back. All of a sudden this massive meteor hurtles by overhead completely turning night into day for a second. We were all in disbelief. The people wearing NVGs were a little ticked, though.

Image credits: Obetend


Last deployment. Russian fighter jets flying right above us taking photos was pretty unsettling. Then on SIPR share drive we saw the photos of the Russians taking photos of us and it’s literally some dude in the back of the jet with a Casio.

Image credits: CrackCocaineShipping


I saw a dead whale once. Out in the middle of the Pacific. Just bobbing along and getting slowly taken apart by sea life.
We thought it was a sperm whale, but it's hard to tell when it's half gone.
We got to see a lot more fish and a few whitetail sharks in the area. A dead whale seems to bring the sea to life!

Image credits: crazym108


I went diving in the Galápagos Islands and it was like being in a parallel universe.

Marine iguanas 6 feet long swimming up with you to the waters surface, baby seals dancing with you and booping you on the head, little penguins bubbling while zipping around you like a Disney movie, birds landing on your head when you’re bobbing in the water…

The immense guilt I feel for what we have done to animals over the span of human existence.. they are so inherently pure and wonderful.

I cried a lot on that trip.. so beautiful and so sad we f****d it all up


I'm a recreational sailor, but my sailing club takes a local concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park once a yea to visit the further islands. Anyway, we had gone to San Miguel for the day and we were on our way back to the harbor, which was over 40+ miles away. The sun had set and it was dark. There's maybe 30-40 of us on the Catamaran tourboat. The swells are huge and we're running with them back to land. They were so big, you could hear and feel the 60-70 ft power boat slow down and bog down as we powered up the next wave. Then it would crest and the boat would accelerate and drop as we "surfed" down the face of the wave.

I figured this might be the closest I get to actually surfing and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunty to experience it as fully as I could, so I made my way outside and out onto the bow, specifically, the bow of the port hull. A teenage girl I didn't know soon joined on the bow of the starboard hull. No one else was on deck. The cool thing was it was either a full moon or a nearly full moon and the moonlight was reflecting off the water exactly in our path, essentially lighting the ocean for us as we made our way home.

Anyway, I was out there for about 15 minutes just really feeling the wind in my face, the moonlight, the boat accelerating down the face of the swells and taking it all in. All of a sudden, the captain cut all engine power and we abruptly came to a near standstill just floating in the swells. Ahead, I could make out a dark void in the far right edge of the moonlight. I thought was a small pleasure craft, like a 20 foot powerboat, about 30-40 yards off the bow. It was dead in the water and appeared to have no power. I caught a glistening on its "bow" that I assumed was the glass of the port forward running light, which my brain interpreted as being turned off. Gradually the dark void in the moonlight slowly submerged and moved left right into the moonlight glistening on the water. As the last of it dropped beneath the surface a huge fluke rose out of the water, perfectly framed by and glistening in the moonlight. It must have risen ten to twelve feet out of the water.
It could not have been a more perfect sight.

That single moment is absolutely the most majestic moment I've ever experienced in nature. And only the girl, the Captain, and I saw it. I'd seen whales up close in daylight on several other trips, but this was truly magical like a fairytale playing out in front of my own eyes. And speaking of eyes, that "running light" turned out to be the whale's eye as it awoke from its slumber and evaluated these strange humans who'd just rudely woken it up.


I was a Coast Guardsman and worked on a cutter based in Southern California right out of basic training. We were headed north and happened to be alongside an enormous migration if dolphins. I mean they went as far as the horizon. It’s not something I could ever explain to someone, even showing them a video couldn’t express the sense of scale.

Image credits: derek86


I worked on a fishing trawler and seen some crazy stuff but the most interesting was there was a pod of whales with there young calf's and for 4 hours they were following us slapping the water and breaching we thought I was an amazing site to see for so long of a duration of time then we realised the were 4 or so killer whales chasing them trying to get the young ones the way they hunt is crazy to watch

Image credits: TransitionRich3327


I was a new deck officer still in training on board an exploration ship. The officer of the deck was visiting (augmenting officer) from a similar ship, so I had to stay on the bridge to help them handle some of the particular oddities of our ship, even though I was still getting seasick back then.

It was the night watch and I horribly sick and curled up on the floor of the head (bathroom) in the back corner of the bridge. The officer of the deck must have thought I'd gone completely crazy because they'd hear me vomit my guts out, flush the toilet, then start laughing with joy and wonder.

The toilets flush with seawater and we were going through a patch of bio-luminescence. Every time I threw up and then flushed the toilet in the pitch black little room, the bio-luminescent organisms would flash making an amazing fireworks show in the toilet bowl.


When I was in high school, my dad bought a sailboat (Pearson 323) in South Florida. We hopped on it and sailed it across the Gulf of Mexico for a few days to get it up to the panhandle. Got up 1 morning and we were in a thick fog. Couldn’t see more than 40’ off the boat. I heard this low hum in the fog. Sounded really creepy and pretty unnerving. Turns out, it was a weather buoy.

We also had an old hobie cat that we’d sail around on. It had 2 trampolines joined at the middle. Me and dad sailed almost the length of St. George’s Island and coming back was almost completely becalmed. Dad didn’t want to ditch the boat somewhere random on the island so we’re heading back at barely 1/2 knot. Couldn’t see them but heard dolphins surfacing around us. Then 1 of the dolphins surfaces right in the middle of the 2 hulls and sprayed dad in the a*s. I was dying laughing.


The most out of place thing I ever saw in the ocean was a massive uprooted pine tree.


My favorite sight was in the summer time off the northern coast of Iceland. The sun was up for my whole midnight-4 watch that required I sit on the bow with a pair of binos looking for obstructions. There was a slight chill so I brought up a thermos of hot tea however the wind was completely absent. The sea was glass flat all morning as I stared mostly at the beautiful cliffs on the mainland. Early on, some ripples started appearing. Then black figures. I realized they were mother Minke whales with calves. I must have seen 100 that morning. Something I’ll never forget.

As far as freaky goes…Middle of the night a group of ~6 of us were on the bridge of a ship in the Atlantic. Closest land was hundreds of miles away. All of us saw a green flash go up, then back down onto the water, probably 2-3 miles off the port side. We never were able to figure out what it was.


I spent my naval career in the shipyard assisting with refueling the reactors on an aircraft carrier as a power plant chemist, nuclear machinist's mate, and radiogical controls tech/supervisor.

One of the amazing things: I got an up close view of old fuel rods being pulled out of a reactor vessel and new ones being lowered into it. Honestly really cool and from what I've heard, refueling a carrier is the most complex engineering challenge the military faces. It is a crazy process from a logistics standpoint.

One of the saddest (not sure if it's necessarily creepy) things: a 30 something year veteran of the shipyard made the choice to do a confined space entry the wrong way (alone, towards the end of the day, without fall protection) and he fell and died in a void space in one of our reactor plants. He didn't die immediately so someone heard him initially screaming for help. They told someone and we all had to go down and search the bilges. They found his body within the hour and had to rig him out of the void and then use a crane to lift him out of the plant. He was only a couple of years away from retirement.

Another sad thing that I'm very passionate about: the navy's nuclear community has a rampant suicide problem that has been swept under various rugs for DECADES. Every navy nuke knows or knows of multiple fellow nukes who have committed suicide. I personally don't have enough fingers to count the number of suicides I was exposed to in 6 years. [NBC did a piece on it recently](https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nuclear-trained-sailors-considered-navys-best-brightest-face-mental-he-rcna65393), but it falls short by not diving into the suicide rate of nuclear sailors (and sailors in general) on active ships and submarines. The rate the article quotes is ~3x the national age adjusted suicide rate in the US. I bet the number would be even higher if they could find statistics on the number of nukes who completed the pipeline and still committed suicide. I bet those numbers are very difficult if even possible to find, because like I said, it gets swept under the rug.


I was engineer and first mate on a converted LCM-80 ( LCM-8) in the fish trade. We operated in the gulf of Alaska, prince William sound, and Bristol Bay fisheries as a tender, taking salmon and herring from smaller boats and villages in for processing on land.

We had a regular spool windlass on the back, and for some reason, the company thought this made us equipped to tow a 220 foot barge from Whittier, up through the Aleution islands at False Pass, and around to Bristol Bay and back each year.

The gulf of Alaska can be a cruel place sometimes, and at 4 knots max speed towing the barge, we got caught in a doozie.

We tried sheltering behind an island (can't remember, we were working our way up the Aleution peninsula) but even so we're unable to hold against the wind and got pulled out. The little windlass on the back deck was getting pulled off and ripping a hole in the engine room in the process. Eventually, in 25 foot seas, we let go the barge and just tracked it and followed it on radar, figuring we'd recover it when things calmed down in a few days.

In the horrific days that followed, during which I must have vomited twice my body weight lol, we nearly got rolled once and took on about 10000 gallons of water in one of our compartments... So, good times. On the last really bad night, I was on watch in the wheelhouse while the captain slept. About 3 AM, and we were rolling 33 - 37 degrees, losing 2 knots against the gale by the LORAN (yes, it was a while ago lol) , with the barge popping in and out on radar about 4 miles in our lee. Suddenly, the whole ship reverberated and shook with a thunderous boom, and I was sure we were done. We'd obviously hit something hard. I woke the captain and the deckhand (our entire crew lol) 15 minutes later, still no sign of flooding in any compartments or other alarms, but I notice the Loran lost signal, and I wasn't having any luck on the SSB trying to call in for a possible rescue (yeah, right lol). The deck lights wouldn't come on, and we had a couple of popped breakers in the nav lights.

After a while, it became obvious we weren't sinking, so we went about our watches just keeping an eye on things.

At first light, I roped off and went on deck to see wtf, and then I saw what had happened.

The WW2 surplus LCM80 ( Vietnam era LCM 8, sorry, I misremembered that) had a deck house at bulwark level, and a pilothouse and stateroom built above that. So the roof of the pilothouse was a good 25 feet above the water.

Mounted to the steel of the pilothouse was a 4 inch steel pipe that went up a few feet to a 3 inch steel crossmember, forming a large T on which our radio and navigation antennas, as well as our mastlights, were mounted.

It was gone. The whole thing. Bent over at 90 degrees and broken off as if by the hand of God himself. Also gone were the liferafts, which were also mounted on the roof structure. The massive 4 inch steel mast had been bent over and torn off. It wasn't like it was corroded and just broke. There was obviously massive force involved, and even the reinforced steel plate of the maststep on the cabin roof was distorted.

It took us about a week, but eventually the seas abated and we were able to bring the barge in under tow to the shelter of the peninsula once again. We made the next thousand miles without much except flat seas and beautiful vistas.... Such is the life of the mariner.

When we eventually got into Dillingham, everyone was quite surprised as we had been declared lost at sea, and the coast guard had already given up the search days before. Both our liferafts had been found empty with their epirbs deployed, and we were all assumed dead.

I still have no idea what monstrous thing must have reached out of the sea and broken off that mast, but whatever it was was inches away from taking out the wheelhouse where I was blindly staring out into the rain tortured darkness on that night.

S**t still haunts me.

Edit: some things I remembered wrong... LCM 8, not 80 75 feet long with the mods it had. Vietnam era, not ww2.

Set up with a full height engine room, 2x 8-71 diesels, 1x 3-71genset, 2x 4-71 genset. Deckhouse at gunwale level with galley, head, shower, and double stateroom. Above that a pilot house with captains stateroom.

Decked over with tanks and reefer system for fish hauling


This was in the late 70's. We were in the South Atlantic near Antarctica on an oceanographic research boat, middle of nowhere and hadn't seen another ship in two weeks. A calm day with fog here and there so we were sounding the foghorn as required. (not a pleasant experience on the bridge as your ears get blasted every 60 seconds)
I was on the wheel when the mate said-"Whoa! Look at that!"- Out of a fog bank about 500 yards away a two masted topsail schooner suddenly appeared sailing opposite our course. All sails up and no one on deck. And absolutely no image on radar. We tried hailing on the radio but no answer. She ghosted into another fog bank and away from sight. It was one of those things that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. The 'Flying Dutchman' was the consensus of the bridge watch.


Standing on a carrier's fantail at night, the bioluminesent algae was sometimes bright enough at night it provided normal level light if you were right at the lifelines.

You'll never see the stars like we have. There are so many faint stars that just can't make it through the light pollution, it was a mesmerizing collage of twinkling lights. There was almost more starlight than black space they were in such plethora.

Once while smoking in an exterior smoking area on the starboard side, I exited the ship's hull to see we were cruising about 25 knots over glass smooth water. No waves, no ripples but our wake. This is actually a bad omen, as the opposite of "fair winds and following seas" is no wind; which left ye old sail ships motionless. Later that day we had an emergency diesel generator fail and almost explode during routine testing.

Once while on watch in the engine room, I heard the high pitched echoes of what sounded like someone pinging us with sonar. A while later, I heard the same sound in a much lower octave. I'm almost certain it was a whale close enough to us that I could hear it through the hull, as the engine room interior is under the water line.

A carrier truly defines her own path through the sea. We sailed straight through a high powered typhoon. The waves attempted in all their might to splash over the fantail. Hangar Bay doors were closed for safety because you could see the horizon rocking up and down 30 degrees. Extra overboard watches were posted. And all i felt was the ocean rocking me to sleep in my rack.

No matter how small, cramped, smelly, or loud my rack and berthing may have been, that was and shall always be the best night's sleep i ever had.

It was always a good day when you saw seagulls, as your next port of call was close at hand.


I worked on a ferry that crossed a river. 3 minute trip, but a somewhat remote location. I worked alone, from 7am to 7pm, all year. In the winter, the darkness was profound. Some mornings I’d show up in the complete darkness, you couldn’t see lights from houses or street lights, and it was only as the sky got lighter did you realize you were so fogged in that the end of the boat was even hazy.

Some mornings in the spring, when the spiders where going nuts building their webs, and there would be webs all over the cabin door, the gates, the boat, that hadn’t been there and I left the night before. from the cold morning dew or fog, there would be water droplets frozen all over them. When I would break a web to get past it, they would fall quickly to the ground and make a clinking sound from all the particles of ice.

One time I saw needle ice, where blades of ice grow straight out of the ground. I pulled onto the gravel parking pad in the morning, and saw the needle ice in the dirt, actually started the ferry late, it was fascinating to look at.

I switched to a different boat, and my shift was 3pm to 10 pm. I remember having a very vivid dream one night, about a deer with huge antlers standing on the end of the ferry in the dark, light by the streetlight. 3 nights later, I actually saw that deer. It wasn’t on the boat, it was up and back further. But it was like in a movie. Completely silent, just me and the deer, the whole world dropping away.

When spring thaw happened, or huge storms came through, the river would get really high. The boat was attached to an underwater cable, so it wouldn’t float away and couldn’t go off course, but you could feel the water pushing so hard against it. The current would push the boat as well as the cable downstream that you’d feel the boat struggle to come in for the landing. You’d land, and immediately slide back off. Or you’d look upstream, and a huge 100+ long tree, with branches and roots attached, would be floating at high speed right toward you. If you was in the middle of the river at the time, you’d have to brace against the controls and wait for the tree to hit either the boat or the cables. Hitting the ferry was easier, you could rock yourself free and move past it. When a tree, especially the root ball, hit the cable, you were screwed. It would tangle in the cable, and you couldn’t move forward. If you went back to the shore you came from, the cable would be pulled so far, your landings would be messed up. And it would take 2 hours at least for a crew to come down, get in the dinghy with a chain saw, and break the tree up. So you’d call it in, but then you’d steer to boat out to the tree, and ram it at full speed. Back up, and ram it again. And again and again and again. The whole time hoping that whoever tied the cable down to the shore did a damn good job, you could feel the intense pressure on the cable as you backed up and rammed the tree again. Once, I had 2 cars on board, and a car waiting on the other side. It took 20 minutes of ramming the tree for enough branches and roots to break off and float away.

Another time, a tree slid past the cable, but I didn’t see it, and pushed it toward the landing under the apron of the boat. I couldn’t land. There was a 12 diameter tree trunk between me and the landing, tangled in the weeds, the cable, the boat, all of it. I couldn’t get close enough to let cars on or off, I was stuck. It took hours for a crew to come down and free me.

Once, the power cut out while I was in the middle of the river. We were powered from an overhead line, with a long extension cord (only 8 inches thick) running between the boat and the power. When you died in the middle, the only option was to move the ferry with the rescue boat. This was a tiny aluminum boat with an outboard motor. It sat, attached to the ferry, hanging over the water. You’d lower it into the water, start it up, and the tiny outboard motor would eventually move the 40 ton boat toward shore. Very, very slowly. It took over an hour, with passengers on board.


Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into her side. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte. We’d just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes.

Didn’t see the first shark for about a half-hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that in the water? You can tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn’t know, was that our bomb mission was so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, sharks come cruisin’ by, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. It was sorta like you see in the calendars, you know the infantry squares in the old calendars like the Battle of Waterloo and the idea was the shark come to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin’ and hollerin’ and sometimes that shark he go away… but sometimes he wouldn’t go away.

Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces.

You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don’t know how many sharks there were, maybe a thousand. I do know how my many men, they averaged six an hour. Thursday mornin’, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boson’s mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water, he was like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d been bitten in half below the waist.

At noon on the fifth day, a Lockheed Ventura swung in low and he spotted us, a young pilot, he spotted us and a few hours later a big ol’ fat PBY come down and started to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened. Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went into the water. 316 men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945.

Anyway, we delivered the bomb.
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