20 Unusual Things Seafarers Experienced Around Oceans
Have you ever thought about how much we know about the ocean which covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface? It might surprise you that we’ve been living on Earth for ages but more than 80% of the ocean is still unobserved or unexplored.
Since oceans are so mysterious, people tend to find strange things in or around them. When a Redditor asked, “Sailors of Reddit, what’s the most unusual thing you’ve experienced while at sea?”, many people shared their stories and experiences of encountering weird and creepy things in open oceans. Scroll below to read them.
More info: Reddit
“Off the coast of South Africa, I worked aboard a cage-diving boat. I witnessed many amazing things, but one day a 5-plus metre female white shark approached the boat. She simply hung around and observed us, showing no interest in the cage, the chum, or the baitlines. Every time she returned to the surface, my brain would temporarily refuse to accept what I was witnessing due to how enormous she was. Like “That is what? It’s so big, Jesus.” She was very composed and observant. It was the first time I truly understood that, despite the fact that it is entirely foreign, there is some sort of intelligence operating in that brain.”
“My dad and i rarely tell this to anyone because they laugh it off but this really happened. We were bith sober, awake and alert, and nothing we can think of in our world can explain it: We were motoring into an anchorage at about 10pm one night. The sea was perfectly still and the waves gently washed against the pebble beach. That was the only sound, apart from the quiet engine noise coming from underneath the floorboards. We both had our head through the top hatches, because it was quite nice weather. All of a sudden, a weird ball of cloud or mist with a faint light in it floats in from out of the night, like just materialised, hovers for long enough for both of us to see it, pauses, and then just accelerates upwards and away at about a 45 degree angle and completely disappears into the night sky. I s**t you not. That was almost 7 years ago and we both remember it exactly the same as the other. Nothing explains it. As far as Im concerned, that wasnt something from this earth.”
“When I was in the Navy, I served on a ship with a flat-Earther.
I don’t know how someone goes to sea and continues to believe that the Earth is flat. [There’s no experience that makes it more clear that the Earth is round than sailing the ocean.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_TpeNZYTmw).”
“Migrants from haiti. Litterly floating on a makeshift raft constructed of soda bottles and spray foam.”
“I was on a run between California and Hawaii, and I was out on deck doing rounds on deck equipment, checking oil levels etc. I saw one of those free fall lifeboats just hanging out in the distance and was like wtf. I called the bridge, they said a ship accidentally dropped their lifeboat a few years ago and now it turns up from time to time. Was glad to know no one was on it, but it gave me a brief scare.”
“Not a sailor but a lifelong surfer so I’ve spent plenty of time in and around the ocean.
I was camping on the beach in Baja with some friends when I noticed the moon was going to be setting over the ocean in a few hours. The moon that night was just a sliver, almost like a finger nail.
We had actually gotten kind of skunked wave wise that day and into the night the ocean was almost completely flat. Like a lake flat. No wind as well. Just sheet glass. Not a cloud in the sky.
Just when the moon lowered to the horizon, it started to glow bright orange. And just when it hit the edge of the ocean, the reflection shimmered all the way to the sand. It looked as if the moon was floating on the sea for just a few minutes. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Far more beautiful than any sunset.”
“I suppose it was strange because my captain said he’d never seen it in all his years at sea.
It was a massive tuna that breached like it was a dolphin.”
“I wasn’t there to witness it myself as I was only 5 years old at the time, but it happened to my dad. He was a crabber in Alaska in the late 70’s – early 80’s. They were pretty far out in the Bering, late at night, in just terrible weather – high winds, snow dumping all around them, just miserable conditions, hauling in pots, and that’s when it happens… My dad has a massive heart attack. The captain immediately gets the coast guard on the horn, but the weather was just to bad for them to send out a chopper. So the captain turns the boat around and hauls a*s as fast as he can to the nearest port. But it still took nearly 6 hours (so I was told anyway) as they were pretty far out and coming in in heavy seas against a strong wind. Dad had 5 more heart attacks on the way back, but luckily one of his buddies on the boat was a former military medic. He managed to keep my dad alive and an ambulance was waiting for him when they docked. They got dad to the hospital and got him stabilized, threw him on a life-flight to Seattle where he immediately underwent a triple bypass. He never went back out to sea after that, and years later when I was 15, dad and I were just wandering around the Seattle Center (where the space needle is) and all of a sudden we hear someone call my dad’s name. We turn around and my dad calls back “Well hello there Cap!” And that was the day I got to meet and hug the boat captain that helped save my dad’s life.”
“We were fishing in a bay with several other boats. The fog suddenly rolled in, but it. Was only about 4 or 5 feet high on the water. All the boats disappeared and all you could see was guys standing up in the fog fishing. It looked like fishing in heaven. This was pre cell phone so no photo, but I would have loved to have a photo of it.”
“Being the middle of nowhere and seeing a star go streaking straight across the sky and when I said “wow”, the aft watch said wait a half hour, sure as s**t there was again in the same spot. It was a satellite on a geosynchronous orbit!”
“Flying fish timed a wave right and jumped out the water and through an open hatch directly into the galley. Freeboard was like 7 metres. The chefs s**t themselves haha.”
“Fishing offshore in S Florida, dolphin/porpoise are not unusual but usually in schools of 5 or so. One day we came across hundreds and hundreds, in small pods of 5-7 but pods everywhere over what would be blocks. Cool as s**t. We stopped trolling and just stayed with them briefly. All around our boat, checking us out, which isn’t unusual. Everywhere. Going north.”
“I’ve only been out a few times on my ship in the US Coast Guard, but seeing countries from a distance never gets old to me. Haiti, Cuba, Turks and Caicos, etc. A random fish popping out of the open ocean. Sunsets and sunrises spent outside on watch.
The Panama Canal and Gatun Lake are among the most impressive and beautiful things I have ever seen.
Also, handmade Cuban migrant rafts. Heartbreaking work, but the ingenuity and resourcefulness of those people amazes me. To set out on the open ocean on a boat made of pallets and styrofoam is something else. Safety of life at sea is one of our biggest reasons for interdiction.”
“Dead calm, glass-like water and low cloud. So perfectly flat water and no discernible features or horizon, almost pure silence too, it’s weird, so weird.”
“Was in the US NAVY on lookout. Around 2 in the morning somewhere in the middle of the Pacific. I spotted a strange plane that was pink and blue flashing lights. These are not normal colors of plane lights. Control insisted it was a satellite because they couldn’t see it on the radar. Wasn’t no damned satellite. It was much bigger than any stars around it, the usual size of a plane in atmosphere. Or some kind of rocket maybe?
After a few minutes, it disappeared. No, I don’t believe in aliens but we weren’t near any sort of landmass for hundreds of miles.”
“Commercial fishing, I saw a dolphin giving birth with another holding her up, an oil rig being delivered that was so tall, it disappeared in the clouds, and a seemingly empty cargo ship almost ran us over. The nastiest thing I ever saw was a man dressed in a nightgown tied to a bow in a storm for whining.
I had also never seen a real tuna fish or goliath grouper. They’re as big as Volkswagons.”
“I’m telling my partner’s story. He is an Atlabtic Ocean winter fisherman. He says the most unsettling thing that has happened to him was experiencing the doldrums in winter with fog so thick you can barely see the ocean that is just a few feet over the side of the boat.
They are in a 40 ft boat, so easily creamed by any tankers out there. Heavy fog rolls over them and everything just stops. No wind. Barely a ripple in the water. And they just sat there watching their radars and whatnot to make sure they weren’t in anyone’s path and just waited for the fog to lift and the air to keep moving.
Another creepy one is a friend had a man over board. They were able to hook the guy’s clothes with a gaffe and where dragging him back on board. Remember, this is winter in the Atlantic ocean, the boat had to turn around to come alongside the man overboard. He had been in the freezing water long enough that he couldn’t move limbs. The gaffe broke and the man fell back into the water. Due to the water in his coveralls and boots, they say he immediately sunk like a rock. In an almost instant he was gone. Couldn’t see him. Couldn’t bring his body home to his family.”
“Volunteering to help search for survivors when the Swiss Air plane crash of “98. Grim s**t, still gives me nightmares.”
“Was sailing off the coast of the big island Hawai’i in February. We were mostly interested in fishing since the wind had died down. There were no other boats around that were visible and it was a very calm and peaceful day. Now often you’ll see Humpback whales breaching in Feb and you can also hear them singing if you are underwater. That is cool enough, but this encounter was awesome. I was baiting a hook, and suddenly on the starboard side of the boat a pod of about 20 [melon head whales](https://us.whales.org/whales-dolphins/species-guide/melon-headed-whale/) comes up right beside the boat and they just start staring us down. I lean over and this one dude moves a little closer and just keeps moving his head so he can eye me up and down. They all just kept staring at us with an expression of “WTF are these? Hoo interesting, don’t look like they can swim at all.” They eyed us at close quarters for about 5 min and then just took off. The weirdest part of the encounter was the close eye contact I had with the first whale was definitely two individuals sizing each other up. Best part of the whole day.”
“On my phone so this is probably not going to do it justice! Was gently sailing down the northeast cost of New Zealand heading into Auckland at about 2-3 am. I was on watch and the other crew member was asleep below. It was a pitch black night,no moon and the sea was very still so as soon as you look overboard all you saw was black! Eventually you saw stars but it was impossible to distinguish sea from sky.
As I was keeping a watch I saw what I thought was a shooting star just MUCH bigger! It came again and again agin until there were about 30 of these shining glittering trails shooting around the boat. It was very disconcerting and it took me a few minutes to click what was happening.
We had sailed into a patch of luminescence while dolphins were swimming around the boat planing on both it and our wake. I had not noticed them due to it being so dark!
For something so simple it was a very moving almost spiritual experience and it will remain one of my all time most fondest memories!”