As a new crew member,part of my duties were to take the trash can up from propulsion(scrap iron junk and gasket pieces)and dump it over the side.The can was so heavy that it took 2 of us to get it up the ladders from below to the fantail above decks outside.The time was about 23:30;the location was somewhere between Hawaii and the Philippine Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.As we stepped outside with the can,we closed the hatch doorway back quickly as we could to maintain darken ship.
We stood still outside to let our eyes adjust to the dark.In case you don’t know,it is very dark at sea at night,because of the absence of light. After 5 or so minutes we edged the can toward the railing,getting ready to lift it up and dump the contents over the side. We dumped the can,then stepped back from the railing and stood still again.My shipmate(senior to me)said for us to just cool it for another few minutes before going back inside.
We both stood there in total darkness,he was 3 feet from me,but I could not see my shipmate standing there.That is how dark it is. Anyway,I started looking at the sky to see if I could see any stars I did not see much in the way of stars that night.As I looked down at the sea going by us below,I saw our wake on the port side where we were standing.Like you would see on a ski boat,the white water wave rolling out away from us.As I looked at the white top of the wake,I followed it out with my eyes to see how far I could watch it.Then,as I was watching the wake,I distinctly saw a bearded white man with black hair and short type of beard walking on top of the wake.
He had on one of those ruffled sleeve long sleeve shirts from olden days.He had on dark trousers.He was looking straight ahead,like he was going somewhere by walking on the top of the wake.I questioned my own sight and looked beyond the man further,to see if my vision might correct itself.Instead,I saw a second man,further out,doing the same thing;walking on top like he was going too,wherever they were going. I could not make out the second mans’ clothing.He was shrouded in the darkness of the night,but I could see that he was there,watching his leg movements as he walked.
I focused back closer,to the first man.He was continuing on,his shirt sleeves were blowing in the breeze as he went along. I did not dare say anything to my shipmate,who had remained absolutely quiet during this whole time.He may have been watching it too.Finally,my shipmate said that we better go on back in,so we went in and back down to the engine - boilers work space.I have not shared this story with anyone til now,and will always remember it like it happened yesterday.