1. Just a huge whirling cloud of death, full of barnacles and dolphin skeletons and decomposing fish.
“When diving, a huge seiner net drifting towards you. It wasn’t anchored or attached to anything. Just a huge whirling cloud of death, full of barnacles and dolphin skeletons and decomposing fish.”
2. My uncle looked up to see the sun behind a wave and the silhouette of a whale inside, above him.
“I have family who sailed around the world. One day in the North Atlantic, their sailboat was going over some GIGANTIC swells. They didn’t have breaks at the top, so it was safe, but the boat was rising and falling way beyond the neutral.
At the bottom of a trough my uncle looked up to see the sun behind a wave and the silhouette of a whale inside, above him.”
3. We both turn to see a figure dressed in black flowing robes walking toward us on the outside of the ship.
“It was a foggy night off the shore of Long Island and I was on a 75-foot schooner. The fog was so thick that you couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of you. The captain tells me there is no point to continue my watch at the bow of the ship and him and I start talking at the stern. About that time there is a thunk on the side of the ship. We both turn to see a figure dressed in black flowing robes walking toward us on the outside of the ship. The robes were scratching down the outside of the ship. It keeps coming closer and is high enough in the air that the top was about even with our heads. It turns out that it was just a black flag to mark a lobster pot, but for those first few seconds it was terrifying.”
4. The monstrous jellyfish that would come floating by silently out of nowhere scared the absolute shit out of me.
“Lived on a sailboat in Malaysia for a while. The monstrous jellyfish that would come floating by silently out of nowhere scared the absolute shit out of me. Easily half a meter in diameter, and hundreds of them. Worst creatures ever.”
5. He could see nothing but the reflection of the bubbles from the hose and the dark, lifeless eye of the Great White behind it.
“Dad used to be an Abalone diver as a young man in Victoria, Money by the bag if you wanted it enough. Though, Half the guys that do it act like they’re on cocaine most of the time from all the nitrogen in their blood. So it’s a dangerous game you can only play for so long.
There’s one story he told me once, and only when he got drunk on his 50th, about an encounter he had whilst diving with a mate. The water down that part of Australia is thick and black and cold, the kelp is so thick that some people get lost in it and tangle their breather hose. Or more often than you’d think, just disappear.
Anyway, He’s diving off a shelf face at about 90m and its completely black. He said you would just pull yourself along the face grabbing abalone by feel. The pressure is enormous, and there are Great Whites swimming around with their mouths open who regularly attack divers or cut air hoses. Which, by the time you realise, you’re dead.
Well, without rambling, He was making his way along this shelf, collecting and felt a nudge on his back. His mate and him always worked in close tandem so he just assumed it was him and reached out to pull him closer, but as soon as his hand touched it, it just smashed him out of the way and got it’s tail wrapped around the air hose which ripped it off the connector to Dad’s mask. So he immediately got his little pen light that he kept on his dive belt for checking cuts (Which were bad to get when there’s Noahs around) and he sees the end of the hose a few meters away spewing bubbles.
The thing that gave me chills, Is the way he described that in the inky darkness 90m down, he could see nothing but the reflection of the bubbles from the hose, and the dark lifeless eye of the Great White behind it.
From what I can piece together from the odd story and anecdote, that was the last dive he did ever, recreational or commercial. He’s never told anyone except me and one of his brothers, and I’d never dare tell mum.”
6. When they first touched the body with a stick, there were eels coming out of his mouth. The eels had just begun to eat his organs.
“My uncle was a captain and he brings freight to other countries. One day in Egypt there was a body floating in a harbor, and the police was getting it out. When they first touched the body with a stick, there were eels coming out of his mouth. The eels had just begun to eat his organs.”
7. It was a wall of barracuda, from floor to ceiling. We were totally surrounded.
“When I was 12 years old my father and I were on a trip near Key West. It was a night dive, the first I’ve ever done, and we were preoccupied with spotting an octopus. They’re fairly rare, shy creatures, and I was fascinated with them as a kid. They’re mostly nocturnal predators, so there was a chance I’d get to see one on this dive. Turns out they’re not the only nocturnal predators.
We spot one out in the open, and a group of us shined our flashlights on it. So cool. It was completely translucent, floating through the water with its tentacles flowing behind it like a cape. It was a big one, too. We spent maybe five minutes following it, and I was awe-struck.
I was so transfixed on the creature that I hadn’t kept track of what was going on around me. I felt a tap on my shoulder, and looked up to see my father. He pointed all around us. I shined my flashlight up, and it illuminated a solid wall of flashing scales. The light went up and up, all the way to the surface. So did the scales.
It was a wall of barracuda, from floor to ceiling. We were totally surrounded. They hunt at night, and a school of them were passing over our group. Fortunately they have extremely poor eye-sight, and were just checking us out. No real danger. They don’t find humans appealing for the most part. They passed after a minute, but to this day I can remember that flashlight moving up and up the wall.”
8. A twenty-foot tentacle came up out of the water and hit the side of the craft. Once, twice, three times.
“A tentacle came up out of the water and hit the side of the craft. Once, twice, three times. Biggest fucking tentacle I’d ever seen in my life, at least 20′ long. Just THWACK THWACK THWACK and then it was gone. No time to react or do anything, just me on the deck thinking ‘what the fuck?’ and then standing perfectly still for five minutes wondering if I’d just seen what I thought I saw, and if so, whether that motherfucking thing was going to come back. A mixture of terror and disbelief that just boggled me into paralysis. Raised sails and got the fuck out of there right quick once I finally came to my senses, but holy hell, that’s one story I don’t tell anyone in real life, ever, because it’s just too unbelievable. Even as a fish story no one would pretend to buy it. So what was it? I dunno, maybe a giant squid that got pissed at me for some reason? Don’t know, don’t care to know so long as it never happens again.”
9. Realizing that the figure hanging from the boom was a man was one of the most haunting things I’ll ever see.
“I came across a man who’d hung himself on his boat 5 or 6 miles off shore about 4 or 5 years ago.
The eerie and truly creepy part was realizing what it was. We just saw a boat out in the middle of ocean’s nowhere without anything other than blue horizon in sight, at the break of dawn, and there was fairly thick fog, as it had rained the night before.
Realizing that the figure hanging from the boom was a man was one of the most haunting things I’ll ever see.”
10. Suddenly you see massive pillars of fire rising from the ocean all around you.
“Sailing around in the Arabian Gulf you could look out and see flaming flares from all of the oil rigs. You get so used to blackness when you’re out to sea at night and suddenly you see massive pillars of fire rising from the ocean all around you.”
12. Thick fog. You can hardly see a couple feet in front of your face. Very creepy.
“Fog. 360 degrees of thick fog. You can hardly see a couple feet in front of your face. Very creepy.”
13. This huge turtle as big as a Volkswagen Beetle.
“This huge turtle as big as a Volkswagen Beetle. It went right under our boat. Shit was crazy.”
14. Losing your ship’s service generator in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, late at night.
“Losing your ship’s service generator in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, late at night. Most of the electrical service to the ship is lost until the Emergency Diesel Generator hopefully starts up.
When you’re used to all the vibrations and sounds in your living spaces, silence is deafening.”
15. A human torso in a fishing net.
“Not me, but my father back in his commercial fishing days noticed that there was a T-shirt in the middle of his net after one tow. After a little investigation he found that it was not a shirt, but a human torso wearing a shirt. He said he was terrified that he would open the net and a head would roll out onto his feet, but it didn’t happen. His captain radioed ahead and they brought the torso back to the docks, where they were met by the police and a coroner. They were eventually able to identify the body (based on the clothing) as a victim of a plane crash that had occurred fairly recently. My dad said he offered a free lobster to the coroner, who graciously accepted it until he found out that it had been found in the net with the body. After that he got angry and told him to throw it back.”
16. A 17-foot Great White shark.
“Fishing out near the Great Barrier Reef and my brother who gets seasick decides to go for a swim to settle his stomach and less than a minute after getting back into the boat a 17-foot Great White went under the boat.”
17. Upon this raft was not a soul.
“The sea is a vast and seemingly empty place. Many fail to grasp this when asking questions like, ‘How can you just lose an AIRPLANE in the ocean!?!’
I found myself, on my ship, somewhere in the vast expanses of the South Pacific Ocean. We had been cautiously avoiding big storms which I knew to be ALL around us (out further than the eye can see) although our local ocean area was calm and peaceful. I was on watch when I noticed something out there, in the distance, bobbing along—that I had never seen before, especially this far from land.
As I got closer, I identified what was clearly a makeshift raft, made from lashed together bamboo, with a snapped mast, and an empty cooler moored to the deck. Upon this raft was not a soul. The chances of coming across a raft to begin with are small enough in that part of the ocean. Thinking about the person(s) who once sailed that raft, why they sailed, and how they met their fate—that was what creeped me out.”
18. A glowing toilet bowl.
“Toilets on boats are usually plumbed with sea water because it makes no sense to shit in your limited drinking water.
One night I was taking the watch on a long haul sail up the US east coast. We were rounding the FL keys about to point towards Maine. I had to use the head, so I went below and pumped some water into the bowl.
It was glowing in the dark. Freaked me out so much. Turns out there is bioluminescent phytoplankton in the water which will glow of pumped into a dark toilet bowl.
No longer scary, actually pretty neat.”
19. Up floats a dead body right next to the ship.
“On 9/11 2013 I was on a ship in the Red Sea. We were having a ceremony in remembrance of 9/11, when up floats a dead body right next to the ship. We were all locked down pretty quickly so that they could send out a couple small boats to retrieve it. Never did hear anything more about it. Pretty damn weird if you ask me, though.”
20. This guy with a gun in a rusted little boat was staring at me about 15 feet from the ship.
“I was working on a car carrier four years ago in the Middle East. Our typical route went through pirate waters at times, and so we always picked up four ex-Marines as security in Aqaba, Jordan before we went. One night while we were going through pirate waters off of Yemen we started to have problems with the main engine. So we stopped and had to drift for a bit to figure out what the problem was. During this time I was working on the stern (back end) of the vessel. I couldn’t really see anything out in the ocean, everything was dimly lit on the ship. I don’t know why, but I got bored and turned on the spot light and there he was, this guy with a gun in a rusted little boat staring at me about 15 feet from the ship. I just stared back at him, kind of stunned. I was afraid if I reached for the radio to call one of the Marines he’d shoot me (the Marines had weapons). So he looked at me and I looked at him and he sort of gave me a nod as if he was telling me ‘well played’ and I gave him one back. Then he slowly rowed his boat back off into the deep pitch-black night. I didn’t know how many others there were. But I did call it in on the radio as soon as I lost sight of him. I still remember his face today, that deep stern concentrated look.”
21. There was this beautiful woman floating in a raft unconscious.
“My uncle runs a charter fishing boat, he loves telling the story about how he was out in the ocean on his boat at night, and there was this beautiful woman floating in a raft unconscious. He and my cousin pulled her aboard and she began to regain consciousness and she was really drunk. Apparently she ended up being on a party boat earlier and everyone just thought she was being too annoying, so to get rid of her they just put her on a raft and sent her off.”
22. You could clearly see the marks of three large teeth.
“I was sailing a small Sunfish around an island near Florida in shallow water. As I cruised along suddenly a large section of water directly in front of my bow exploded with a large splash. Immediately afterward my boat rammed into something under the surface and came to a complete stop. My first thought was, ‘I’ve hit a reef,’ but suddenly the entire boat was lifted up and spun around 90 degrees, almost dumping me into the water. Then there was another big splash and I saw something zoom away, leaving a wake behind it.
I was left freaked out and shaking. Then I thought to myself, ‘I must have hit a big dolphin. Maybe it was a manatee? Lots of dolphins around here…’ So, I finished my sail and went home. When I got to the beach I pulled up the centerboard and found a real surprise! A two-inch chunk had been bitten out of the wood. You could clearly see the marks of three large teeth.
I’m very happy that I didn’t fall out of the boat that day.”
23. On a small fishing boat your bed is below water line. You can hear whales yabbering.
“A real creepy sound (there are a few out there) is whales. On a small fishing boat your bed is below water line. You can hear whales yabbering. It isn’t quite as relaxing as a whale song CD.
Freakiest was when we had to run for shelter behind a rock. It’s a well-known safe rock (if any of you have seen Deadliest Catch they use them occasionally, just a big-ass rock that protects you from wind and waves) we made it, but the boat three or four miles behind didn’t. They all died.”
24. I watched a whale die.
“When I was off the coast of Japan in 2007, I watched a whale die. I couldn’t tell the gender, but I remember hearing those faint whale cries that you can sometimes hear at night beneath the surface. The moon was full and I could see it on top of the water and I saw other whales passing around it. Do whales have funerals? Because it felt like a vigil or saying goodbye. You could hear the faint puffs of the blowhole spraying out water in a labored way. I don’t know if it was hurt or just old. These other whales made a few passes and then they left, and the whale wasn’t spouting air anymore. This was all in a 15-minute period as we cruised past. I guess the whales may have been there longer, but I feel that they know that they don’t want to stay around dead bodies for long. It was haunting and beautiful and I don’t think I had ever cried as much as I had that night.”
25. Surrounded by twenty humpback whales.
“When I got my first sailboat I took it out on its maiden voyage on a beautiful April day in Hawaii. I was with a much older experienced sailor who was teaching me. About a mile out, we saw a whale, then five, then twenty. They were all around us, and singing the song of the humpback people. We were both terrified, as a whale can and will flip a 30-foot boat like a potato chip. They stayed with us, front-side—back-and below, for about an hour. The singing was super eerie, check it out.
Then on the way back to harbor, the damn motor wouldn’t start, and we almost got blown onto the rocks. I was never so happy to get back on dry land. Of course, we went back out the next day.”