SALTY MYTHS AND SECRET LORE… stories we’ve heard, and tales galore…
For ages, salty sailors have told stories of strange happenings out at sea. Though intrigued by the legends of those that have gone before us, the stories we tell here are first hand accounts and shared in detail by those directly involved.
You may remember us sharing our story of The Haunting of Bahia Escocesa several months back. Today we would like to share with you a story told by our friends Matt and Jessica aboard Serendipity. Their account of unexplained happenings during their recent Atlantic Crossing is enough to give anyone the heebie jeebies!
All text and photos below have been republished with permission. The original post by MJ Sailing can be found here.
Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 42 & 43: Alien Encounters
Thursday July 31, 2014
I’m not going to lie, it’s starting to get really hard (and boring, probably for all of us) for me to come up with something to put for every single day of this crossing. So until we make landfall, I’m only going to put down things that are worth putting down. And then hopefully, just hopefully, I can start getting pictures and stories up of what I’m assuming is amazingly beautiful Horta.
On that note though, something happened that I thought was kind of cool and noteworthy. Today we crossed a spot on the globe where we had the exact same coordinates for latitude and longitude. I wonder how often that happens for people? I obviously haven’t done a lot of research on the subject, but it seems like a lot of areas covered by land (or at least the United States) are higher than 80 degrees West, meaning there is no matching latitude. So to find numbers close enough to match pretty much means you’re going to be over water. Maybe something random I can add to my bucket list? Seems like a cool enough accomplishment.
Oh, and if you can tell from the photo, we’ve now passed the stationary gale (which has all dissipated now) and we can begin heading north and directly toward Horta again!
Friday August 1, 2014
There’s just something about me and night shifts and strange lights. Don’t get me wrong, that fireball I spied just a few days outside of Bermuda was probably a once in a lifetime sight that I’ll never forget and may be worth crossing the Atlantic for itself (mayb-be), but the past few nights seem to be surprising me with questionable lights amidst the dark. Yesterday morning around 2 am I was popping my head up on deck between relaxing with my podcast on the comfortable settee below to see what looked like a flashlight beam oh so briefly shine on our American flag flapping at the stern. There is nothing on the boat that could have illuminated it at that angle so brightly unless Matt decided to sneak up behind me with an actual flashlight, unnoticed by me, while I still stood on the steps. Very unlikely. As my heart quickly jumped into my throat I thought it was another boat trying to identify us, but after frantically searching the horizon and then turning to the radar, we were the only thing out there. Alien encounter? Apparently once they realized we were American it was enough to make them leave us alone.
Which brings me to this morning’s odd light. More astrological than extraterrestrial, but still startling nonetheless. It was moments into my 12-4 am shift when I was just climbing up the steps to do a cursory glance before my more in depth check that would be coming up in ten minutes (what can I say?, I like to stick to my schedule), the sky directly in front of us suddenly lit up as if the deck light had been thrown on. In the split second it took my mind to register that this shouldn’t be happening I saw a very bright greenish-white sphere fall from the sky leaving a bright trail behind it. My first thought was ‘Oh my god, it’s a flare!!’. Although from what I’ve been told, flares are red or orange and nothing else. But this was close! As in, someone must be lighting off fireworks next to our boat close. Surely it couldn’t be a meteor?
Quite startled and still not fully registering what had just happened in the two seconds it took to happen I let out an audible and nervous “Ummm….” as Matt was still settling himself into bed. Asking what was the matter I told him that I’d just seen a very bright light that looked flare-like just ahead of us, and as he raced to untangle himself from the sheets he had just slipped under, I added “But it was greenish-white”, knowing that his first thought would be that someone in a life raft was trying to alert us to their existence. By now my head was finally wrapping itself around the fact that it probably was a meteor. Just a very, very close meteor, and that there was no need to worry. Not taking any chances though, he dove into full rescue mode, not wanting to risk the possibility of missing someone out there trying to signal us. Asking me question after question of exactly where I’d seen the light, how close it was, and what kind of shape it took, he set about trying to figure out our drift and trajectory while trying to find out when and how close we’d come to the source of the light After ten minutes of more horizon scans, scrutinizing the radar, and follow up questions such as ‘If it were you, how long would you wait to set off a second flare?’, I assured him that, as amazing and unlikely as it was, I think we were just incredibly close to a meteor that happen to be falling in this vast ocean that we’re traveling. He finally relented and went back to bed as I promised to stay up there for a while longer, keeping an eye out for any more lights or loud signaling noises.
In non-astrological news, we’re continuing our path directly north as we ride the east winds before they shift east in the next day or two and force us to turn directly east instead. So close and yet so far away. I keep focusing on the miles remaining as the crow flies, wishing we could take that same direct path, trying to count down our arrival based on those numbers, but instead preparing myself for yet another day or possibly two at sea on top of my predictions because we’re forced to travel at 90 degree angles instead. The pressure is still steadily rising, now at 1022, 10 mb higher than we were 48 hours ago, and I guess I should just be grateful for having any wind at all as we make our way into yet another high pressure system.
In more exciting news, I saw another sailboat today. What??!! I honestly didn’t think that would happen until we were within 20 miles of Faial. For some reason this sight makes me extremely giddy. We’re not alone out here, the only thing under 400 ft and carrying cargo. Part of me wants to call them up on the VHF just to say hi and find out where they’re going. Possibly get a little encouragement from someone out here that’s just as crazy as us. Another voice to say, ‘Yup, we’re right there with you’. Except, knowing our luck, they’d come back with, ‘You’ve been out how long??!! We just left the states two weeks ago. You must be traveling extremely slow’. Yup, that’s a much more likely scenario. Maybe they won’t get a call after all.
Be sure to visit MJ Sailing’s BLOG and FACEBOOK PAGE for ridiculously gorgeous photos and beautifully written stories about all of their cruising adventures.
If you have any salty myths or secret lore that you’d like to see published here, please contact us on the blog or through our FACEBOOK PAGE!
Great Story! We saw the meteor of a lifetime anchored one evening while laying on the tramp. It was a magical night in the Tabago Cays. At first we thought it was a flare but it streaked across the sky.
Rick, There is definitely something magical about the Tobago Cays… My favorite place by far!! I bet you’ll remember that story forever. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for all the love Jody! I can’t wait to hear what other sailors pop up with for more myths and lores. But until then, you and I will just share in our ‘What was that thing that night?’ solitude. :)
Jessica, I can’t wait until the next weird encounter happens out at sea! Peter and I always talked about that before we moved aboard… how weird stuff really does happen on the ocean and we were sure we’d experience something unexplainable. What will be next? :)
I enjoyed your story! Back in 2000 or 2001, my husband and I had chartered a monohull in the Bahamas with two other friends. One night we were all lying on the foredeck stargazing and all saw a light (we assumed it was an airplane) fly into a cloud, then the whole cloud lit up and we never saw the airplane exit. Weird stuff out there!
Crazy! Wendy, do you have a blog? I’d be happy to share your story here!
From the movie Contact,
” I’ll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it’s just us… seems like an awful waste of space. Right?”
I often think of this quote when sailing at night looking up at the stars.
Mark and Cindy
s/v Cream Puff
Great quote Mark!! The infinite possibilities boggle my mind…