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    Re: Noisy Sea Surface
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2003 Nov 14, 20:32 +0000

    Dan Allen said-
    in Florida one night at a dock in St. Augustine, we HEARD the
    >strangest sounds coming through our hull.  Out of 20 nights sleeping
    >aboard our vessel (a 39' Krogen trawler), only at this one place did we
    >hear these strange sounds.  I got out of the boat and stood on the dock
    >in the evening and listened, and could hear these strange scratching
    >sounds, as if there were thousands of little tiny organisms nibbling on
    >the docks or hull of the boat.  We could not see anything in the water
    >that was unusual.
    >Has anyone ever heard anything like this before on their boats?  Does
    >anyone have an explanation for this?
    Response from George Huxtable-
    We're accustomed to hearing such noises on warm still nights, at some
    anchorages along the South Coast of England. Without knowing what exactly
    causes them, we name them "clickers". Possibly, they come from some
    crustacean lonely-hearts in search of a mate. A particularly good spot for
    such noises is Worbarrow bay, on the Dorset coast, which we can only use
    for anchorage occasionally, when the army takes a day off from practising
    at the adjacent firing range. It's chalk-cliff country there, with a bottom
    of chalky stones and sand, and rather open to the English Channel.
    We don't seem to hear such noises in muddier anchorages, such as Poole
    harbour itself.
    On a quiet night the clicks can be very audible. If I get up at night to
    pee over the side,the clicks seem to stop for a while in protest, then
    restart after a minute or two. I've never seen anything in the water to
    associate with whatever makes those clicks. They sound as if they are close
    alongside or perhaps even hanging on to the hull.
    In the days when I used a "paddlewheel" log, then if the boat was left at
    anchor, without making way for a week or more, it would get clogged by tiny
    shrimp-like beings, which were presumably bracing their little legs to
    prevent the impeller from turning and displacing them from their cosy
    habitat. What with these and the barnacles, which seem quite content to
    dwell on the blades of the propeller, and don't mind at all being
    centrifuged as I leave and enter my berth, there's a wonderful variety of
    life down there. I wish I knew more about it. When the fouling gets bad,
    however, I would be happy to be without the little sods.
    contact George Huxtable by email at george@huxtable.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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