This happened on or about Saturday 11th August this year--
We had left Cape Bowling Green and sailed throughout the night, the last part of it on our diesel motor
, going towards Townsville. We were approximately 15-20 nautical miles south from Magnetic Island, at about two in the morning when I noticed an orange glow on the surface of the ocean.
Sudden panic as we thought this was an unmarked hazard on the chart, some sort of newly positioned danger
light. It was still some miles away and too bright to be the usual marker--and I turned on the Radar
to see if I could see anything not already visible. Our radar
takes a while to warm up. I could see nothing with the binoculars--which indicated to me it was just below the horizon and probably a ship fishing
for squid--hence the large amount of light.
I began to relax a bit--thinking this was the probable cause--when suddenly this bright orange ball of bright light rose very quickly into the sky and hovered at a height I estimate roughly at about one thousand metres--but perhaps it was more. I was certain it was not an aircraft--no helicopter or jet could climb so quickly in silence. The absence of noise
was perplexing. The night was still, which is why we were using the motor
. Neither was there any vapour trail as would be seen with a rocket, and no trail of sparks as from a parachute flare. The radio
was silent--no distress
The light then slowly circled--three or four times, the circle being perhaps a few hundred metres in diameter--then the light suddenly moved directly away from us at what appeared to be high speed--the brightness diminishing as it rose higher into the air--and in a few moments it had vanished entirely.
As soon as the light had risen into the sky I had switched off my navigation
lamps. The radar showed nothing--or if it did I did not see anything. There was no low cloud that someone could have played a searchlight on--and there is usually some mist above the sea which would have shown such a beam of light.
So there you have it--exactly as I have recounted. Make what you will of it. In thinking back I considered balled lightning--but there was no other lightning
or atmospheric turbulence obvious at the time--and at that hour of the morning the atmosphere is relatively still.
I had not been drinking--and I do not smoke dope or take drugs.