“I sailed a 70ft yacht around the world a few years back. Southern Ocean, Cape Horn, Good Hope, Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties, two equatorial crossings; the full deal. A creepy moment that is burned into my memory involved a near catastrophe halfway between New Zealand and Cape Horn. We ended up hitting really bad weather and absolutely huge seas — 50ft swells with massive troughs in between. We were running with the swells for days as they grew, skidding down them like a bloated surfboard, always worrying that the next wave would break behind us and roll us over.”
“At night it’s pitch black down there in bad weather — the sky and sea just form a huge black mass. The most terrifying thing is the sound of an invisible wave breaking behind you. At night, we run a red light to preserve night vision, so there’s basically just an eerie red glow emanating from below deck.
At about 2 in the morning, I was at the helm when a monster wave broke directly over the back of us without a second’s warning. Time slowed down like it does in those moments, and the last thing I saw was my own silhouette in the wall of water, lit up like an ominous red snow angel…and then nothing but cold blackness as the boat sunk into the sea.
Fortunately, she popped straight back up like a cork after a few eternal seconds, almost like a submarine surfacing, and we were still in one piece. Still cant forget that glowing red apparition of myself, though. The memory of it has woken me up in a cold sweat more than once.”
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