Suspicious Reporting

By Kay H.





Seaview spent the last two weeks participating in War Games in the Atlantic Ocean where they tested a new sonar detection unit for the Navy.  The tests were very successful.  Seaview docked in Norfolk to have the sonar unit un-installed and for debriefing of the officers.  The crew was allowed a couple days shore leave, before leaving on the next assignment for The Canadian Ocean Habitat Protection Society (COHPS).  



Seaview spent the next week studying coral trees off of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The aquatic jungle in that area consisted of branching structures that fishermen called "trees", which provided food and shelter for Gulf of Maine fish stocks and other marine organisms. While there was considerable debate over the extent of past damage, it is clear that certain fishing activities affect deep-sea coral ecosystems.  Now since exploration activity was moving into deeper waters where horny and stony corals lived, further damage will occur. Available information indicated that these corals provide important habitats and could play a critical role in the life history of many marine species, including some of commercial interest. Recent advocates for protecting coral forests in the deep waters of the North Atlantic have been speaking out.  It is suspected that heavy fishing gear dragging along the sea floor destroyed the corals, therefore harming deep sea fisheries.  The conservation community called for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas to protect important coral.


Seaview reached the area of the deep-sea coral forest and approached very slowly to the edge before stopping.  Admiral Nelson watched the beautiful coral trees through the Observation Nose windows.   Lee walked toward him and asked, “Admiral, do you want detailed mapping or just an overview of the area first?” 

“Lee look at this!!  Have you ever seen anything like it?  Here’s what I want to do.  First let’s circle the area and record and photograph everything. Then we will use the nose cameras and record everything with sonar and hydrophones.  I need to know how much area the forests cover and the thickness of each area.  After all of this is completed then we can use the flying sub and the submersible to collect samples.”

Seaview spent the next week mapping the coral forest.   Patterson and Sharkey have collected samples using the submersible.  Lee and Ski also made numerous runs with the flying sub collecting samples for Nelson.  Sparks monitored the local radio and television stations, as well as monitored the communications between the flying sub and Seaview.   Sparks called out, “Commander Morton, FS1 requesting permission to dock.”

Chip picked up the mike, double clicks and said, “Prepare for docking.”  Then he walked over to the hatch and opened it.  Lee and Ski climbed out of the hatch into the control room.

“Welcome back, Lee.  How did it go with the collecting?  Sharkey and Patterson have already returned in the submersible.  They finished collecting everything the Admiral requested.  Were you and Ski able to collect all or your samples? Are you going to need another run?”

“It went fine, Chip.  I think we got everything the Admiral wanted and maybe even a few surprises for him.”  Lee turns to look at Ski.  “Kowalski, you and Riley unload the samples from the flying sub.  Get them to the Admiral and see if he needs any additional help. When you’re finished return to your regular duties.”

“Aye, Aye, Skipper.”  They both said.

Kowalski and Riley climbed back down into the flying sub to remove the specimens, while Lee and Chip head to the chart table. Sparks picked up a news report during routine monitoring of local communication channels.

Sparks turned on the tape recorder and said, “Skipper, there is a news report on the discovery of the Ringed and Hooded seals in the Shetland Islands.  I thought the Admiral might be interested, so I made him a tape.  According to the reporter this is very uncommon and some scientists are trying to discover why these seals were found this far south.” Sparks looks puzzled and then asked, “Skipper, where are the Shetland Islands?  I never heard of them.” 

Lee walked over to the radio shack. “The Shetland Islands are where Scotland and Scandinavia meet the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The Shetland ponies come from there and they lie just 600 miles north of London. They’re actually more than a hundred islands; but only 15 are inhabited.  They span over a hundred miles between Fair Isle and Out Stack.  They’re well known mainly for birds; but also for marine life especially porpoises, as well as the common seals and gray seals.  Give me the tape, I’ll take it to the Admiral.  He’s in the lab studying the coral tree samples.”  Lee turned to Chip, “Commander Morton, you have the con.  I’m going to check in with the Admiral, it’s about time he took a break.”


Chips smiles and said, “Aye, Aye, sir.  It’s your head.  You know how he is when he’s locked in the lab working on a new project.”


Lee laughs, “I know, but we finished mapping the last group of coral branches and collecting of all the samples he requested.  I need to check on whether he needs additional samples.  At the same time, maybe I can get him to take a break and look at this tape.  I know Doc will be glad for any kind of break that he takes.”



Lee left the control room and headed toward officer country.  He stopped by Admiral Nelson’s cabin first, to check and see if by chance he’s there.  After knocking and receiving no answer he decided to stop at the galley and check with Cookie to see if the Admiral’s had lunch.


“Cookie has the Admiral called for lunch or stopped by?”


“No sir, I haven’t seen him since he stopped in this morning for coffee.  I tried to take him some lunch, but he wouldn’t answer the door.  You know how he gets when he’s involved in a new project.”


“Okay, why don’t you fix me a thermos of coffee and a sandwich, something light?  I need to talk with the Admiral anyway, so I will deliver it along with his messages.”


“Skipper, I already have one fixed for him.  What about you?  You missed lunch, too?”


Lee sighed and smiled then said, “Okay Cookie you win.  Fix enough for both of us.”


Cookie smiles happily, turned toward the refrigerator and pulled out fruit cups and two chicken salad sandwiches.  “I already have them ready, Skipper. Just let me setup the tray for you.”


Lee took the tray and headed toward the lab.  When he arrived the door is locked.  He knocked and said, “Admiral, it’s Lee.  May I come in please?”


Nelson opened the door and glared at the tray in his hand.  “I busy, Lee.  What is it?”


He stepped into the Lab and set the tray down in a clear area.  “Several things, Admiral we‘ve finished mapping the coral forest and collecting all of the samples. Are there any other areas that you need some specimens from?   Oh, and Cookie informed me that you missed lunch, so I brought you some.  This way you can eat and still work.  Do you need any help cataloging the samples? “


“No, go ahead and head home.  I can work on this while we’re making the Northwest Transit.  If I don’t finish before it we dock, then the specimens can be transferred to the labs at the Institute.”


“Admiral, before we head home you may want to listen to this tape.  Sparks picked a news report about the discovery of Ringed and Hooded seals in the Shetland Islands.” 


The Admiral reached for the tape.  “Let me put these specimens back in the tank then we can go to my office.  I want to listen to the tape and then contact the Institute to see if they have any additional information.”


Lee and Nelson leave the lab for his cabin forgetting the lunch tray.  As they listened to the tape the Admiral said, “This is exciting! Rarely are any seals except for the gray and common found in the Shetland Islands.”  Nelson reached for his phone and said, “Sparks put a call into the Institute for me; requesting all information available on Ringed and Hooded seals.  Especially any previous references to their appearance on the Shetland Islands.   When its ready pipe it through to my cabin.”  He hung up the phone and turned to Lee, “While we are already in the right area let’s investigate this before making the Northwest Transit.  After we finish checking the information on the seals maybe you and I can investigate a few lighthouses.  The Shetland’s have several unusual lighthouses depending upon which island the seal are located on.  The Esha Ness and Firths Voe both were designed by David and Charles Stevenson, who were well-known for their Scottish Lighthouses.”


“Admiral that sounds great,” Lee reached across the Admiral’s desk and picked up the mike.  He double clicked, “Control room. This is the Captain.”


“Control room here, Skipper.”


“Mr. Morton, set course for the Shetland Islands.”


Lee left the Admiral’s cabin and headed to the control room.  As Seaview sailed toward the Shetland Islands, Sparks heard a strange message.  He switched on the tape recorder and called out, “Skipper, I am picking up a strange message.”


“Put it on the speaker.”


 "Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision." Lee recognized the voice as American.


A clipped British voice replied, “Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision."


"This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course."


“Captain, I say again, you divert YOUR course."




"This is the Faroese Mykines Holm lighthouse. Your call."


Chip turned to Lee and looked puzzled as they listened to the message.  Lee turned toward sonar, “Kowalski is there anything on your scope?”


“No Skipper.”


Chip looked puzzled and said, “I don’t remember an aircraft carrier named the Kearsarge.”


Lee reached over to the mike and picked it up.  “Admiral Nelson to the control room.”  Lee then reached for the charts of the area.  “Chip, where are the Faroe Islands relative to our present position?”


The Admiral entered the control room. “What is it Lee?”


“Listen to this message, sir.”  Lee turned to Sparks and said, “Play the messages again. Admiral, sonar is not showing any ships in the area and I don’t remember and Aircraft Carrier named the USS Kearsarge.”


Nelson raised his hand to Lee indicating stop, as he listened to the message.  The crew looked nervous and kept glancing at the senior officers.  “This doesn’t make sense.  The USS Kearsarge was decommissioned after WWII.  How close are we to the Shetland’s and Faroe Islands? “


“We’re located off of the Shetland Islands near the island called Out Skerries.”


“Okay, let’s check with the lighthouses on Out Skerries.  See if they received the message. Also check the Mykines lighthouse on Faroe Island, see if they sent the message.”



Lee and the Admiral walked over to the radio shack.  As they approach the radio shack Sparks turned to look at them.  “Sir, I picked up a message from the Mykines lighthouse to all other lighthouse on the Faroe Island.  They requested additional information, trying to discover which lighthouse sent the message.  I also received a similar message from the Out Skerries.  Everyone seems to be perplexed; no one admitted to having this conservation or having seen these ships on their radar.  Admiral what is going on?”



“I don’t know.  This doesn’t seem possible since the USS Kearsarge was decommissioned after WWII and scrapped several years ago. Sparks, contact the Institute ask them to research any similar type messages that have occurred in the past.”


While they waited for more information on their puzzle, Seaview received another message.  Sparks said, “Admiral you received additional information on the seals reported found on the Shetland Islands.  According to the Institute, the report of new sighting for the Ringed Seals and the Hooded Seals is false.  There have only been two definite records of the Ringed Seals in the Shetland’s. The last one was found dead on the beach of Out Skerries 6 years ago.  There have only been five reported sighting of the Hooded Seal in the last eleven years according to the Shetland’s government.  The last Hooded seal found in the Shetland’s was 7 years ago.  No one is admitting to releasing the story about the seals.” Sparks looked nervously over at them and softly asks “What is going on, sir? First the news report and then communication between the aircraft carrier and the lighthouse?”


Lee walked over to Sparks and gently laid a hand on his shoulder.  “Don’t worry about it.  The Admiral will figure it out.”


The Admiral motions him towards the Observation Nose.  When they arrive at the nose the Admiral said “Let’s sail up toward the Faroe Islands.  We can look for anything suspicious while preparing for the Northwest Transit.  There is no reason to stop at the Shetland Islands now.  I will be in my cabin.  Contact me immediately if we receive any more of these strange communications.  Hopefully the Institute may have some additional information soon.”



A short while later Sparks received a communication for the Admiral from the Institute.  He contacted the Admiral in his cabin.  Admiral Nelson reached for the phone.


“Admiral, Lynn is on the radio for you.”


“Thank you Sparks, put her through.”  Sparks switched Lynn to the Admiral’s phone.  “Hi Lynn, what do you have for me?”


“Hello Admiral, the library found several references to similar types of message between ships and lighthouses. Some have been aircraft carriers and even a couple of destroyers.  They have occurred all over the world, involving several different countries for over forty years.  The only thing in common is the time of year.”


Lynn, what do you mean by the time of year?”


“They were all reported as occurring from October 29th to November 1st.”


“Okay Lynn, thanks for the information.  We’re starting the Northwest Transit to the Pacific and should be home within a week.  Seaview out.”  The Admiral sighed and wondered whose idea for a Halloween trick was this.



Note:  The lighthouse and Carrier communications was taken from Urban Legends Reference. The URL for this page is


Many thanks to Sue for all of her help betaing this story.


September 2006