Sailors Share The Strangest Things They've Ever Seen On The Open Ocean

Knowable

Being out on the open ocean is not something many people get to experience, but if you do it tends to be one of those things that changes the way you view the world.


The rules of "normal" kind of go out the window. It's not an environment humans are accustomed to, and so even the most mundane things can seem entirely surreal.

One reddit user asked:

Mariners of Reddit, what's the strangest thing you've seen out on the open ocean?

and ok ... maybe surreal was an understatement. Some of these sound outright unnerving. Except the last one. We're pretty sure that last story is about interrupting God's fishing trip and God just trying to play it cool after getting busted.

Edgy

I have only spent about 2 months on the water, with about 2 weeks on the Great Lakes. But even just a couple miles off shore in the Atlantic when it's a foggy and calm night I totally get what sailors talk about when they say "sailing off the edge" sometimes it looks like the water just stops and there's nothing after it.

- NBAhungboi

Who?

An Owl. 300 miles offshore. I hoped it would stay with us or get close enough to catch, but it flew off into open water. Lots of land birds get stuck at sea, sometimes they accidentally fall asleep on a ship and wake up in the middle of the ocean and try to find land again. Some get blown out from storms. They eventually drink too much salt water and die. The smaller ones get eaten by seagulls. It's sad.

- SparkleFishy

Praying

Giphy

We were at least 5 days away from land and our ship was covered bow to stern in praying mantis. Not truly the weirdest thing ever, but after not seeing much life for a few weeks it was an experience for sure.

- ObamasCoffeeCup

Lightning Strikes Twice

One time on the coast I saw a massive storm stretching as far as you could see, which is of course very far when you have nothing obstructing your view.

There was lightning everywhere I cant put it into words, every city was probably getting a lightning strike per minute, but from my point of view with this massive panoramic view, there must have been 10 bolts of lightning per second, sustained over at least an hour, absolutely mesmerizing

Like any good mariner, I grabbed my cigarettes, and did the ol' one foot on the railing and watched.

- The_VanBuren_Boys

Ballet In The Bay

Whales doing ballet in the bay. Hilarious to watch such a massive and heavy beast come flying out of the water over and over again like it's just playing, meanwhile it's big enough to just crush me instantly.

- 73Scamper

Every Other Human In History

Giphy

Father used to sail yachts for rich bastards across the Atlantic so they could have it in their Mediterranean and Florida houses depending on the time of year. His first time he got to truly see an open, starry night, and says he was appalled that it was so unusual to him, and because we're all living in cities everyone's missing out on that kind of natural beauty that almost every other human in history would've had access to.

- STVnotFPTP

Baldius Manius

In Slovenia, whilst on our research vessel, we saw a pale and bald thing almost emerge from the sea, it looked incredibly humanoid (as in its head was poking above sea level, with a thin layer of water over its head).

It was there for a split second, and we assumed it was a diver trying to scare us. Lo and behold, we carried out a biodiversity assessment in that very area and found nothing apart from some smaller fish. But no man. There was nobody there.

To this day, me and my marine biology professors have no idea what it was, or how it got there (I was majoring in marine biology at the time).

Our first assumption was a juvenile whale. However we were in relatively shallow waters, where these species tend not to congregate. Furthermore, if it was a calf, there should have been a much larger mother (which none of us ever saw).

We named this species as baldus manius.

- Tom5pense

An Orange Flower

I was on the helms of a ship in the South China sea in late 2018. It was just before dark when one of the stars expanded from a dot to a flower shaped orange thing that rotated very slowly. That thing was there for the whole night.

Everybody the on the bridge was wondering what the heck it was. It was not larger than the size of my thumbnail with my arm stretched out, but it was so distinct and eye catching.

Probably an astronomical or meteorological phenomenon.

- DeciduousDentition

The Void

Solo night watch on a sailboat delivery. New moon (when the moon can't be seen) with overcast skies that covered the stars.

The strangeness wasn't what I could see but rather what I couldn't.

Total silence on a broad reach, surfing down long unbroken swells. No light in the sky, almost no perceived movement, just 4 hours of nothingness. Occasionally a wavelet would crest and reflect the light of the navigation light and cast a pale green flash that was the only reminder that I was on the ocean and not cast into an endless void. It was the most unsettling experience I've ever had.

- FatBeardedSeal

A Man With No Boat

Was motoring through hurricane Irene (captaining a 32' charter catamaran) between Anegada and Jost Van Dyke in open water many miles from any coast/harbor....and stumbled upon a local man with NO BOAT doing "deep sea spear fishing."

Dude had a 4x1.5 foot Rubbermaid container attached to 2 bouys filled to the brim with ice and fish. Probably at least 300 lbs of deep sea catches (before gutting). And all he had was a rudimentary, blacksmithed, iron spear rigged with silicone tubing on a stick for the propulsion.

We were probably 13-15 nautical miles off any shore/harbor...winds were insane, at least 45-50 mph...waves were between 15'-17' in the open sea, prob 20'-25' on shore...dude didn't seem to have any sort of boat/canoe.....looked to us like he swam out with a few bouys and nets and just got to fishin and didn't notice the hurricane lol.

He had obviously been spear fishing these waters his whole life, I mean the amount of fish this guy had speared was unimaginable... literally a massive pile of fish. It was impressive.

Why the F are you spear fishing in the open ocean during a hurricane, and how the F did you spear all those you wizard?!?!?!

We scooped him up, gave him a ride, and then enjoyed an enormous bounty of fresh deep sea fish with the fellow. He must have given us 20-25 lbs of his catch when we scooped him and gave him a ride to Jost Van Dyke.

He looked pretty normal for a BVI native besides his mohawk hairstyle. Kinda skinny, in his 20s, super fit, of west African complexion, and spoke the local language as well as English with a thick islander accent. He was a very respectful and cool dude, helped us a lot.


Saw the dude later on, getting off his dingy at Pusser's bar with plenty of fresh catches for the tourists. He loaded us up with fish and drank with us that night...let us in on a few "secret local diving/fishing spots." Dude was chill, poured us some of his homebrew rum and open fire grilled us some local chicken.

Asked us to cover his bar tab at the bar as "payment" and went on his way.

We ended up scoring some good footage and fish on his recommendations. Ended up giving a lot of our catch away or trading for other goods cuz there was just too much for our freezer.

Was a great trip all in all. Never did learn his name.

- Jsmoke91

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