William Wordsworth once said that the ocean is a mighty harmonist. After reading this list, you’ll surely agree with the description of mighty but you might have second thoughts about harmony. Water is supposed to be tranquil and serene besides the fact that we need it to survive. But when that peaceful watery life source turns dangerous, its deadly grip can be a terrifying nightmare. A death by drowning is something that no one wants to even think about.
The crew members of large ships and sailors in the Navy alike are people who dedicate a chunk of their lives to the water. They know the risks and dangers of the high seas but just as we know the dangers of highway accidents, we don’t expect to encounter one when we set off on our day to day journeys. When ships encounter danger, things get extra scary because it can be hours, sometimes even days, before the crew is located and rescued. Seas are powerful and somehow, peaceful beasts that can not be tamed, only respected and prepared for. Their depths are teeming with unsolved mysteries, legends and reported hauntings. When you’re done learning about these fifteen true stories about the world’s most dangerous seas, you’ll understand why.
15. Dead Body Floating In The Red Sea Interrupts Special Ceremony
A Reddit user called Fnwayshegoes wrote that on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2013, he or she was participating in a special military ceremony in honor of 9/11 on a ship in the Red Sea when suddenly someone noticed that a dead body had floated up right next to the ship. The poster went on to write that the ceremony was immediately put on hold and a couple of boats were dispatched to retrieve the body but they never learned what happened to it. We’re not sure if this means that the rescue boats were unable to locate the body once they got in the water or that nothing else was said about the body after it was retrieved. Another Reddit user commented that after serving six years in the Navy, this occurrence actually happens more than one would think it does… more than it should.
14. The Sargasso Sea – Creepier Than The Bermuda Triangle?
Imagine you’re the captain of a ship and being afraid to pass through some of the calmest waters in one of the gentlest seas known to man. Why? Read on. The Sargasso Sea gets its fame from being the only sea known to be purely defined by ocean currents (it has no land boundaries). It is a smooth sailing sea with the charming characteristic of having Sargassum seaweed floating atop its peaceful surface. However, it is also known for stealing entire crews from ships. It’s true. Since 1840, reports have come in of ships that have been found abandoned with not a crew member in sight in the mysteriously calm waters of the Sargasso Sea. Is this a worse fate than going missing in the Bermuda Triangle? It’s a bit creepier, wouldn’t you say?
13. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald And The Disaster In Great Lakes Of America And Canada
S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was a beloved American Great Lakes freighter. Beloved because she was the largest ship on North America’s Great Lakes and her captain was known to have a little fun entertaining crowds who would gather as the great ship passed between Lake Huron and Lake Eerie. Captain Peter Pulcer was known as the “DJ Captain” and often played music non-stop through the day and night for them. But there was a time and place for fun. When it was time to get down to business, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald did just that. She set record-breaking times only to beat those times. Then the day came in the fall of 1975 when a storm passed over the route S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was taking. The Captain didn’t seem worried and radioed in saying, “We are holding our own.” But somehow, the massive beast of a ship sunk. The crew of twenty-nine were presumed dead but their bodies were never recovered and it’s never been stated exactly how the great ship sunk.
12. Sailor Encounters A Glowing Green Sea In The Bermuda Triangle
A sailor in the U.S. Navy said that his ship was sailing through the Bermuda Triangle when he saw something that he will never forget. He described the atmosphere as being eerie as it was since many of his fellow sailors had been commenting on the fact that they were in one of the world’s most mysterious locations. As soon as he stepped outside to get some air, he was shocked to see a green glowing ocean. He said it looked like the water was full of the chemicals used in bright glow sticks. This might sound cool or even beautiful but imagine being in a place where massive ships full of people are said to have vanished and then seeing such an unnatural sight. All of this mystery may have a very simple explanation and kind of a bummer for you lovers of wonderment. The sailor went on to say, “I found out later that it was most likely bioluminescence from plankton in the water.” Yes, that ruins the “magic” a bit but it’s still a strange experience.
11. Surfers Have To Wear Shark Repelling Device In Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa
Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa has quite the reputation for beautiful waters, phenomenal waves just begging to be surfed and great white sharks that have a taste for human flesh. Don’t forget bull sharks. They enjoy eating people, too. Both of these water creatures with knives for teeth call Umhlanga Rocks home and are proud of it. They’re not about to be driven away from their home just because a few whiny surfers and swimmers complained about them. No, sir. These sharks are so bound and determined to stake their claim that scientists have had to invent a gadget for surfers to wear that is meant to repel sharks. This, on top of the massive netting that was installed in the fifties to try to keep the sharks from hassling the surfers. That effort has had some success. But now here’s the real question: Who is more determined, the surfers or the sharks? And why, surfers?
10. Drowning In Droves At The Dead Sea
It’s no wonder the Dead Sea in Jordan is such a huge tourist attraction. Every year, tons of people flock to the famous sea to float in its super salty water, to rub legendary mud on their skin, enjoy shark-free swimming and sadly in many cases, to unexpectedly drown. The Dead Sea has such a high salt content that it is ten times saltier than any ocean you can think of so many people think it’s impossible to drown. Technically, it’s true that the salinity of the water won’t let a person drown in the traditional sense. But it is entirely possible for a person to trip and fall into the salty sea face first. If this happens, it will be much harder to regain control of one’s self because of the buoyancy of the water. Adding an extra layer of danger is if the person happens to swallow the salt water while struggling to get right side up. Just a few sips can throw off the body’s normal electrolyte balance. So when visiting the Dead Sea, be careful. Be cautious. And keep your mouth closed at all times.
9. Somali Pirates Terrorize The African Seas
In April 2008, a Spanish fishing boat was taken over by a crew of Somali pirates who put the crew of twenty-six through a living hell for a week, holding the entire crew and ship hostage for one week at the demand of $1.2 million for their safe return before damaging their vessel with grenades. The ransom was paid and the crew managed to make it safely to nearby Port Victoria though both the crew and ship were wounded. The band of Somali pirates had boarded the ship using speedboats which had come from their larger ship, a stolen Asian fishing ship. The pirates, who were described as emaciated, threatened the crew with machine guns and knives. Sadly, attacks like this are not unheard of. In this area, there is reported to be around fifty “bio-pirate” attacks per year.
8. Shark Bites Are No Big Deal For Fans Of New Smyrna Beach In Florida
With a nickname like “The Shark Attack Capital Of The World” you might think that there were very few surfers brave enough (or perhaps some would call them not the brightest surfers) to venture out in the pretty waters of New Smyrna Beach, Florida but you would be wrong. In fact, researchers say that the reason there are so many shark attacks at this particular beach is that it is always filled with people! Dedicated swimmers and surfers can’t get enough of New Smyrna’s blue waters, threat of dismemberment and/or death or not. The deputy beach chief has even said that when the beach is shut down due to a shark or multiple shark sightings, he can expect to get plenty of angry complaints. Yes, fans of New Smyrna are incredibly chill about things like “minor bites” from sharks. Some even drive themselves to the hospital! And you can bet they’re back out there again to surf another day.
7. Waves Of Ice In The Weddell Sea Of Antartica
The Endurance was a mighty ship constructed of solid oak in 1912 and designed for the polar conditions she was meant to face. In fact, every joint and fitting in the ship was cross-braced to optimize the overall strength of the ship and special oak trees were handpicked for her design so that their wood would follow the natural curve of the vessel. It was meant to be a ship in service for many decades but sadly, the great ship would only live for three years before succumbing to an icy fate. In August 1914, the Endurance set sails from Plymouth, England headed for Buenos Aires, Argentina. The voyage seemed to go well at first but after many months at sea, the ship encountered a polar pack of ice in the Weddell Sea that plagued the crew for about one month. The ice finally broke down the hull and the ship became flooded. Luckily, the crew was able to use three lifeboats to make it to the nearest island for safety until they were rescued.
6. Violent Conditions In The Chiléan Sea Throws Crew Members Overboard
In 2005, the Porvenir I, a cargo ship sailing off the coast of Chilé was caught up in such violent winds and strong ocean swells that the boat, despite its heavy weight and huge size, could not help from being tossed side to side by the wild and out of control crashing waves. The crew tried to manage as best they could but ultimately, everyone on the ship was helpless in attempts to steady to vessel. The ship was being thrashed around like a child’s bathtub toy in the rocky water and sadly, three crew members lost their lives as they were thrown on one of the sides of the ship. The sudden conditions were so extreme that nothing could be done to save them.
5. Sharks Like To Get Up Close And Personal In Makena Beach, Maui
Sharks get hungry, too. Can we blame them if we look simply delicious to them? Well, we can try to avoid places where we are known to be a delicacy for our finned friends. Usually, it’s the deep sea surfers and adventurous snorkelers that have to worry about shark attacks but in Makena Beach, Maui, it’s the boogie boarders and those that enjoy lightly splashing around and collecting seashells that have to watch their backs. That’s because Makena Beach typically has tiger sharks who are known to hunt for prey in shallow waters. So if you’re headed to Makena Beach anytime soon, skip the plans for a rock-skipping session and frolicking near the water and maybe plan for deep sea diving lessons instead. Or better yet, just stretch out on the lovely white sand and enjoy a good book!
4. The Stormy And Unforgiving Irish Sea
The Irish Sea has a terrible temper at times. There are tons of old stories featuring the Irish sea as the villain but this story is pretty recent. A French fishing ship known as “Alf” got caught up in a terrible storm on the severe waves of the Irish Sea in 2013. The Royal Navy was the first to receive the plea for help as broadcasted via the coastguard. The Royal Navy dispatched a helicopter and found a fisherman who had been trapped on the ship by the stormy weather. They initially wanted to extend a lifeboat to the injured fisherman, who had begun to show signs of hypothermia, but when they saw the weather firsthand, they knew that wouldn’t be a possibility so they rescued the man by using a winch system and escorting the fishing ship to safety. The picture is intense because it looks as if the wave was just a bit stronger, the ship would have capsized.
3. Rip Currents Threaten Swimmers’ Lives In Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii
Basic ocean swimming safety lessons have got nothing on the rip currents at Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii. For those of you who prefer dry land, a rip current is a strong, narrow current that pulls outward from the beach through the surf zone. Depending on the force, they can be extremely dangerous and disorient people who get caught in them. And Hanakapiai’s are no ordinary rip currents. These are rip currents on steroids. They seek to destroy. In fact, at least eighty people have lost their lives to these powerful ocean nightmares at this beach which is accessible only by the Kalalau Trail. What makes Hanakapiai’s so much deadlier than rip currents at other beaches is in part to the fact that the closest shore area to swim to is nearly six miles away. That’s especially exhausting and nearly impossible if someone has already fought and managed to successfully break away from an ultra strong rip current.
2. Crashing Waves Inside A Patrol Ship On The Ross Sea Of Antartica
In 2011, an offshore patrol ship encountered particularly unruly waves and rough wind conditions while traveling through the Ross Sea, which is located deep in the Southern Ocean of Antartica. The Ross Sea is unique in that it is one of the last known seas to remain relatively untouched and unaffected by us greedy human beings and as such, it is almost completely pollution-free. But on this day in 2011, things were anything but peaceful in the barely touched Ross Sea. Thanks to a wind circulation flow that is strongly influenced by three submarine ridges that run from southwest to northeast, if the conditions are just right as they were on this day, one can experience a front row seat to enormous crashing waves.
1. The Black Sea Can Be A Black Hole Of Despair
History tells us that Graeco-Roman tradition used to call the Black Sea, “The Hospitable Sea.” We think that maybe those historical fellows had a sarcastic sense of humor because the Black Sea can be anything but hospitable. In 2007, a cargo ship named Vera Voloshina was almost shipwrecked when it encountered a heavy storm in the Black Sea near Ukraine. Heavy equipment was almost lost at sea despite anchors being in place and the whole ship was nearly run aground. More recently, in 2015 a guided-missile destroyer called USS Donald Cook waged war against the Black Sea as it tried to navigate through a blizzard. Low visibility and icy conditions made for a nerve-wracking journey. Thankfully, with advances in technology, crew members have an edge up against even the most unhospitable of seas.