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Old 18-11-2011, 14:57   #1
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By Jove, That's it !

It was blowing a steady 17 knots when we left the Galapagos with three other boats. I had no idea 4 days later we would be 300 miles west sails slapping on the big flat pond we call the Pacific. If not for the current we'd have no progress at all.

I've been off watch for two hours and my wife awakes me with news that one of the other Galapagos-Marquesas boats is headed our way having just appeared from just over the horizon. Because there, reflected on the flat water was the bright mast light from a boat on the horizon. Through the binoculars it looked to be a sloop but in the star filled moonless night it was hard to tell. But who could it be?

We hailed them on the radio a few times but got no response. We speculated why there was no contact; if they would even have their radio on; if they just didn't want to talk... Since they must be motoring they might not even hear it?...there's something not right with that light.

I fire up the planetarium program that comes in Navigatrix. It uses the GPS to automagically give a planetarium view of the sky for the time and place you are at when you look at it. It's already setup for nightvision red as well. In a matter of moments, but plain as day, there was a chart of the night sky for the view looking over our stern. Jupiter was clearly labeled and our mystery was solved. Apparently because of the distance involved (4.2AU) we didn't allow enough time for radio signal delay to reach *and* return from Jupiter.
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Old 18-11-2011, 15:04   #2
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Re: By Jove, That's it!

We are but simple spectators of the wonders that surround us.
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Old 18-11-2011, 15:31   #3
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Re: By Jove, That's it!

My dear girl friend in her youth was a chief mate on a cargo ship, and altered course for the moon as it came up over the horizon.
She did tell me never to tell anyone about that episode
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Old 18-11-2011, 15:39   #4
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Re: By Jove, That's it!

hey look at it a different way .................. it's a good thing no one answered your radio call
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Old 18-11-2011, 20:39   #5
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Re: By Jove, That's it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel1 View Post
My dear girl friend in her youth was a chief mate on a cargo ship, and altered course for the moon as it came up over the horizon.
She did tell me never to tell anyone about that episode
Been there too!

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Old 18-11-2011, 21:37   #6
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

And they ask me why I want to read these forums! I could never learn this kind of stuff in a book.
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Old 19-11-2011, 13:17   #7
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

HELLO WADDA,

Good to hear your safe, and sound. I am still here in Panama City waiting for the winds to change in March. Mother Nature has more surprises for us then we can imagine........i2f
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Old 19-11-2011, 13:38   #8
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

I share your startled confusion... On a delivery headed south off the Oregon coast many years ago, I noticed a strange glow following my progress south at about 5 knots faster than I was making. We were about 40 miles offshore around 2:00am in very light fog. Stars were clearly visible. The lights began to take on an elongated shape as were progressed south. Out of nowhere but from the general direction of these lights came the phosphoresent glow of a torpedo headed directly at us! I gybed around to head up wind and the torpedo adjusted its track and disappeared just under our bow. Shaken but still curious, I headed towards the 'spaceship' lights and as they disappeared ahead of me, I made out a cruise ship headed south... the torpedo was a dolphin looking for a bow wave to play in. I still remember how this event scared the pants off me! Capt Phil
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Old 20-11-2011, 03:29   #9
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

I am still laughing at that story !. I was sailing along at night ,no moon,working my way up the east coast of the Queen Charlot Islands,Can. Knew I was in deep water but started seeing large lit up areas in the water, I thought, geez, Iv gotten too close to shore, So i turned sharply and glanced off one and as it slid along side just as it got to me it blew about 2 tons of salt water and fish slime all over me and the boat. Needless to say I changed my fowl weather, gear not for what had gotten on it but in it!
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Old 20-11-2011, 06:22   #10
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

The rising moon ,glowing red has twice caused me to mistake it for the portside running lights of avery near and large ship. Also changed course 300 miles away from avery bright light comming right at me. Yup, shuttle launch .
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Old 20-11-2011, 09:56   #11
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

Thought I was the only one.... sailing off Sand Head near Vancouver, I spot a large disturbance in the water, and a large periscope begins coming up out of the water heading right for me. Just as I am about to be rammed by a surfacing sub, a large male killer whale surfaces next to the boat, then continues on his way. To be fair, a sub did actually hit and sink a sailboat in the same area several years earlier... Man... that dorsal fin must have been seven feet tall.
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Old 20-11-2011, 11:24   #12
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

Great thread! Glad I'm not the only one to be spooked out there occasionally!! Capt Phil
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Old 23-11-2011, 23:24   #13
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

Was sailing on my catamaran (G-Cat 5.7M) off Anna Maria Island, FL when I saw a cloud under the water. I'm in 20' and can see the bottom clear as day, but not too far away the water is darkened for about 50x20 yards. I sail to the edge of this occurrence and find it to be mating stingrays! Thousands of them, layer upon layer.

Another time, the water ahead of me began bubbling and frothing and a giant ugly orange alien head popped out of the water as I slid by. It passed under the legs of my trapezing crew and one long flipper popped up my rudder and spun the creature around. Green Turtle nesting season was upon us.
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Old 24-11-2011, 03:48   #14
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

Atlantic crossing East to West South Coast of UK to the Azores, enjoying a bit of steering by hand, following a star that turns out to be a jet aircraft, in the middle of the night I could not understand how I was losing sight of it so quickly. I called the mate up to check me! Boy was I embarrassed.

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Old 24-11-2011, 08:23   #15
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Re: By Jove, That's it !

Atlantic delivery after several rough days: it had settled down to about 12 knots. There was a very clear sky and we were making 4.5 knots to the south. I was on a moonless 3 AM watch and noticed a faint greenish glow at the horizon. A ship? Out here?

About two minutes later I realized it was a particularly bright star seen through water. Had I not noticed it happening a few more times, I would not have assumed you could have atmospheric clarity all the way down to the sea like that.

Satellites, especially the big 'uns like the ISS, can be quite alarmingly bright to the dark-adapted eye. They don't move like jets and don't feature nav lights, so you briefly wonder if you're Stage 2 in the cattle mutilation program.
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