April 27, 2024 at 11:52 pm

People Share Stories About the Creepiest Things They’ve Seen in the Ocean

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/AskReddit

I heard someone say recently that only 6% of the world’s oceans have been explored.

That stat blew my mind and it got me thinking about all the things that we DON’T know about what lies beneath the surface of our oceans.

Scary stuff, no doubt!

Check out what folks had to say about the scariest things they’ve seen out at sea.

That’s scary.

“Not so much what I saw but what I experienced.

I was once underway in the Gulf of Alaska during a November gale. Waves were up to 35 feet with some rollers hitting 45. An uncommon occurrence on the diesel electric ship I was on was a cyclo-converter tripping. When this happened the ship would temporarily completely lose power and propulsion until some electricians could reset everything.

This happened during that gale. I simply can’t explain how strange it is for the boat you’re on to all of a sudden go so quiet, that you can clearly hear waves slapping the ship and metal bending and flexing.

Knowing you’re completely at the mercy of the sea. Knowing that if the ship lost its bearing and went beam to there was a real possibility of capsizing. It’s easy to forget when you’re at sea that the only thing keeping you alive is a bunch of steel welded together.

At that moment I was fully aware and it humbled me. Thankfully we trained frequently for this and had everything fired back up relatively quickly.

Another time I recall was when the ship took a rogue wave. They are absolutely real and I believe they account for a massive number of shipwrecks. It was late at night and I was on the bridge. We were passing through a storm and we’re taking the waves off the bow with no visibility. As the ship moves there’s normally a pretty standard pattern.

You ride up a wave for a bit and then you fall down the wave for a bit. Well we started riding up a wave and got to the point where we should have been starting or ride down…but we just kept climbing and climbing. And then it happened. We started our ride down the back of this massive wave.

All of us braced ourselves and tried to find something to hold on to but we all fell to the deck any way. Anything that wasn’t secured for sea fell down all around us. Manuals, tables, computers, printers, you name it.

Our captain who was sleeping called up to the bridge asking if we hit something. It woke the entire crew up. Rogue waves are real, and they’re terrifying. I can’t imagine being in a smaller boat or taking one of them broadside.”

Seen it all.

“I was in the US Navy for about 10 years, and have tens of thousands of miles at sea in an aircraft carrier. Countless nights on the flight deck in the middle of the night and middle of the ocean…

Creepiest: A HUGE patch of the ocean glowing. Like nuclear waste in the Simpsons glowing. I’ve seen bioluminescent algae of a few kinds and this was nothing like it. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.

Weirdest thing: hundreds of mile out to sea from land and there was a MASSIVE fire on the water. It was like the top of a gas refinery, but on the water with nothing under it but water. Flame going a few stories into the air.

Saddest: a fellow sailor trying to jump overboard. He apparently got a ‘Dear John’ email and pictures from his cheating wife and decided to end it.

We were on the smoke deck, he bummed a cigarette, then asked the time, we said 2300… he replied “sounds like a good time to ***” and in one motion tried to launch over the chest high wall (with an opening to the water below). Luckily we were faster than him.

We grabbed his legs and wrestled him down and laid on him and basically hog tied him till the MAs (Navy cops) got there. Broke my heart because he was a good dude.

I never saw him again. He got transferred off the ship shortly after. Not sure what happened to him but I hope he’s doing better.”


“Some 20 years ago…

On the MV Explorer (since sunk) down near the Antarctic circle, sailing around the icebergs and occasionally making landfall…

We rounded into a small bay area, and there, amongst the ice and coast was an unmarked sailing yacht. Which is odd as generally yachts have some identifying markings on them.

To add to it, they didn’t respond to any radio contact, and whilst I wasn’t privy to the conversation (and it was a long time ago), some crew went across via Zodiac and were refused boarding.

So basically a yacht, not a particularly large one, that was unmarked was hanging around in the inhospitable waters of the Antarctic and didn’t want any help or contact.

Proper weird.”

What were they doing out there?

“2 Chinese boats, like small, old, fishing vessels, meeting up in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean like half a mile behind us.

This was so random, within international waters but so freaking far away from China, I still wonder what the hell they were doing there. They had no AIS.

The first one to arrive close by, passed next to us as if to check who we were and if we were keeping course (sailing vessel) and then went straight towards the other ship and mated.

Maybe drug trafficking or maybe just fishing. But yeah, still pretty far away from their most likely official harbor and kind of weird.

It was litteraly in the middle of the pond, around 10 degrees North of the equator, so not your typical fishing route.”


“A human body.

It was the tropics and it wasn’t in good shape.

We turned it over to the authorities at nearest land. There were enough teeth left to identify it by dental records.

Here’s hoping the man’s family got closure.”

Middle of the night.

“Being out in the blue at night in a lightning storm in a slack wind.

The ocean was very flat – no big rolling swells – just tiny little ripples. The whole world would be black, and then there would be a flurry of bolts, and the whole world would be silver.

The ocean looked like nothing so much as aluminium foil that had been scrunched up, and flattened out – the water looked like mercury, and all the little ripples made these very dramatic black shadows.”


“Years ago my friends and I visited Thailand, and went on several excursions on a boat with a captain.

On one of the evenings we were out at night and it was pitch black except for the green lights that were coming from the large commercial fishing boats way out in the distance.

We had stopped for a while to take in the view and eat, when it started to rain. The captain thought it was best to head back, and then quickly realized that the boat propeller wasn’t working and something was caught on it.

He grabbed his head mounted flashlight and a knife and jumped in the water. He was gone for a good minute which felt like eternity as we were huddled around trying to figure out what was happening. Fear started kicking in as we waited.

Then he suddenly re-emerged panting and told us that shortly after he jumped in, he lost his flashlight and had to literally feel his way underwater towards the propeller, reaching and cutting a plastic tarp that had wound itself around the propeller, cut it loose, and made his way back to the surface in the dark

It was a strange set of emotions as we were completely impressed with the badass display we just witnessed, relieved he made it back but also freaked out imagining what would’ve happened if he hadn’t.”

All lit up.

“One night on the 00-04 watch in the Persian gulf on a Military transport, the whole sky went from pitch black of 0200 to fully lit in a second.

This went on for about 30 seconds then back to pitch black. We called up the neighboring ships and HQ no one knew what happened.

Our best guess was a meteor.”


“I worked on the sailboat one summer in the Bahamas and something that you see a lot when you’re in the ocean is kayaks and life jackets floating around and you always radio them in but they always just fell off a yacht or something and it’s never a big deal.

Once we found a kayak floating and it had a fishing rod in the rod holder which basically meant someone was using it.”

Pitch black.

“I was on a 32ft speedboat and got caught by nightfall in between islands.

No night lights on the boat, navigating using GPS and depth finder. Captain knew the way like the back of his hand since he’d sailed those waters since he was a kid but for me it was my first time in the middle of the ocean at night. Pitch black but for the stars.

As above so below, it seemed as if the boat was floating in the blackest void of the universe. Years later I saw the movie Life of Pi and the scene where Pi is in his lifeboat floating in the dark among the stars no above no below : it was exactly like that.

I still have dreams about that night. . The engulfing dark and the silence that was not silent. Surreal.”

Close call.

“The USS Cole was part of our battle group.

We left her behind in the Red Sea while we went through the Suez Canal. Once we entered the Mediterranean Sea the Admiral went on the 1MC (ship speaker system) and told us that a rib boat had hit her and blown a hole in the side.

About a month later we were pulling into Palma, Spain when a rib boat came barreling towards us. T

he security detail was called on deck and they were ready to blow them out of the water. The Commanding Officer quickly told them to not shoot. It turned out to be Greenpeace.

For the next five hours Greenpeace and hundreds of their friends circled the ship in their boats and jet skis. Those guys probably had no idea how close they came to getting ****** that day.”

That’s wild.

“A man swimming alone in the Java Sea.

He had been floating for a couple of days and although several boats had passed him he didn’t dare hail a ship not from Indonesia because he feared being taken as a slave or something.

It’s possible he was a little mad but he did seem happy to have us turn up.”

Well, I won’t be able to sleep now…

If you liked that post, check out this one about an employee that got revenge on HR when they refused to reimburse his travel.