How Supernatural Are Our Oceans?

By: John Chalbeck

I grew up in the Florida Keys (born in Key West, lived in Marathon). My grandpa (nicknamed Captain Jack) was a retired USN Captain and fighter pilot in Korea (55 missions) and Vietnam (60 missions). He picked the Keys to retire, bought a 42 foot sailboat, and started a charter business which mainly consisted of families traveling to the Bahamas and back. My dad, at the tender age of 23, became the captain and was in charge of all the trips to and from the Bahamas. My father is the most competent and trust-worthy sailor I know and the only person I would ever let take my family or myself out of sight of land on the ocean. He is a real marvel on the Monaree (this is name of the sailboat). Some of his stories, which I truly believe because he told them to me, and he loathes liars/lying, are absolutely unbelievable. I know I just contradicted myself but work with me. I will share the three that first and most often come to mind:

1. He and a charter of people were anchored out pretty far from any land in some semi-shallow water (75-80 feet, as the anchor line only had a hundred foot of rope) on a very calm night. My dad heard voices coming from the water on the side of the boat. He checked the inside cabins and everyone was sound asleep. He was always afraid to sleep as he feared what Captain Jack would do to him if he lost someone or the boat during a charter. He kept hearing the voices and scoured the outside of the boat to find the whispering. He said is went on for like a half hour and he was completely freaked out. He made no mention of it to the passengers. He only told his brothers, my grandparents, close friends, and his kids. He told me on my first trip to the Bahamas while anchored off Bimini. He firmly believes it was the ghost voices of sailors lost to Davey Jones’ Locker. So many lives have been lost at sea! I wonder how many spirits and souls are still lost trying to find a way out of its depths.

2. On a different trip, my dad had to try and break the anchor free from the bottom at night, diving down about 40 feet. He swears on his way down, he got a weird feeling something was stalking him. This is very natural as the ocean is FILLED with critters that could swallow you whole. Whether this was a hallucination, we will never know, but he said he turned around and shined his huge light and saw a man under the boat. The light went out! He rose as fast as he could without giving himself “the bends” (nitrogen bubbles in lungs from rising to fast without decompressing the pressure). He did not go back in the water until the morning. Creepy part is light came back on soon as he got out of water.

3. The story which I find most fascinating is when he was sailing at night on a charter to the Exumas. The whole ocean as far as he could see lit up like a bright light had just been switched on. He speculates is was a nuclear submarine because there is absolutely no explanation for this. I don’t want to believe it was just a bunch of Navy guys messing with him for fun. I want to believe it was much more!

Thoughts anyone?

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11 thoughts on “How Supernatural Are Our Oceans?

  1. I’m not even surprised that the ocean is haunted, because why not? It’s true that countless people have died on the open water, and stories like the Mary Celeste, a ship whose crew and passengers disappeared without a trace which was discovered when the ship floated to shore totally empty have circulated for hundreds of years. While I’m more scared of the live animals and general deep water danger that exists in the ocean, there’s just something about watery ghost stories that give me chills. Excellent stories, and your grandfather’s boat sounds awesome (love sailboats)!

  2. I feel the same way about the ocean being haunted. So many people have died at sea, it is possible that their souls remain where they passed away. It’s very creepy that your father heard voices, yet didn’t see people talking. The ocean is extremely vast, and if you’re boat is alone in an area I imagine it is impossible to hear others from miles and miles away. The second story freaked me out more. People can sense when someone is staring at them or following them, so it is like your father sensed the man behind him. And then the light going off after he say the man and then turning on when he was at top is very interesting. I wonder if other captains have had similar stories. Did your grandpa have stories like this?

  3. It would be interesting if your dad did hear the voices of dead sailors. There are so many myths and stories about such occurrences, there has to be some truth to it to spur them in the first place. I’m a pretty big baby, so I don’t think I’d go diving in the dark in the first place. But it’s really scary to think about being deep in the ocean and seeing someone or something you’re not supposed to, and then have your only source of light and visibility go out. Absolutely terrifying. I’m wondering if the lights were a bunch of bio-luminescent sea creatures that came close to the surface? I think this occurs sometimes, but I’m not sure. Maybe it was a ghost submarine.

  4. I am so afraid of water to begin with so if any of these things happened to me, I probably would’ve had a heart attack. It does make sense that there are a lot of spirits in the oceans because so many ships sink and people that are unaccounted for drown. It’s a terrifying thought but people go missing all of the time and a lot of them end up being found in some type of water environment. I see how you can believe those stories even though in a sense they are unbelievable. Also, I think it’s really cool that you grew up in the keys! I wish!

  5. My Grandpa’s stories were more like, being scared because he couldn’t find the lights on the Aircraft Carrier while flying with bullet holes his plane and almost out of fuel, just praying he could find his ship soon. He never chartered any one on the boat. He just did the paper work and business part, my dad did all the sailing.

    I asked my dad about bioluminescent creatures as well, he said “as far as the eye can see? I don’t think so John ” he really thinks it was aliens or something, but says it might have been a huge submarine with a huge lighting system, but its hard to makes sense out of something like that, but you can tell he is still messed up over it.

    Some scientists say we know more about outer space than our own oceans, the deep is a scary place. I’m more scared of a huge Barricuda, than a ghost.

  6. This is fascinating. I’ve never heard stories like this, nor have I heard people tell stories about incidents like this. Even though I was really amazed by this story, I won’t say that this helped me with my fear of boats. I’ve been on boats before, but I’ve always been a little nervous about getting on them. Does your grandfather have any similar stories to the ones that your father tells?

  7. Loved this story. I myself am a sailor, so I’d love to talk to you about this. Also, what does the name of your boat, Monaree mean? I have always found the water rather mystical as well, so I can greatly appreciate these stories. I always have felt paranoid in the ocean when I go whale watching with my family in Cabo. It’s just my family, and a man in a rickety old boat. The entire time we’re out, I always think of an escape plan if he attempts to pull a gun and kill/kidnap us. Just saying.

  8. Monaree is my grandmothers middle name, my grandpa named the boat after her. My daughters middle name is also Monaree after her. Mitch ill talked to you about sailing whenever you my friend. You should see my dad pluck lobster from the bottom of the ocean with his bare hands.. It is really something else.

    It’s ok to be nervous on a boat Jazmine, it may save your life, my grandfather didn’t have any sailing stories. He has war stories which are interesting but not as supernatural.

  9. I think the idea of the ocean being haunted is extremely fascinating. If you really think about it, there must be an incalculable number of bodies and other relics on the ocean floor, which is revolting but true. And divers are always exploring shipwrecks and finding the remains of people’s possessions. I remember going to a Titanic exhibit at a local museum when I was younger and marveling at the fact that they had on display glasses, dishes and silverware, and even books. Because the ocean is such a vast and obscure place, it becomes doubly captivating when you couple it with our fascination with death and the dead.

  10. I’ve never heard stories like your fathers. I find the one about him diving then seeing a man under the boat particularly creepy. And I agree that it is completely possible that the ocean could be somewhat supernatural because of all the lives lost at sea. They possibly haven’t found peace and are left to roam the oceans. I also think that the ocean is so scary to other people because of how large and deep the ocean is. There is so much of the ocean that we haven’t explored yet and we are finding new species all the time. Remember when the giant squid wasn’t a real thing? Who knows what else could be lurking in the shadows of the ocean — monsters?

  11. I don’t see why the oceans wouldn’t’ be haunted. So many lives have been lost at sea – what is the difference between a house and the hull of a boat? I’m particularly interested in the second story, about the man under the boat. You mentioned that it could be a hallucination – but did your dad have a history of hallucinations? I just don’t see why it would happen randomly one time. I also think it’s interesting that both your dad and your grandpa have experienced “supernatural” like occurrences at sea. I would love to hear more stories like this!

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