The Lake Michigan Triangle, A Sailor's Tale ...
It was a perfect night for a sail with 7-10 knot winds, flat seas, and as it was mid-week we had the lake to ourselves. I was aboard one of three classic wooden sailboats, part of an active racing fleet who competed every Sunday and practiced several nights a week. Around dusk on this sultry July evening we set sail for what seemed to be an idyllic cruise, as fate would have it, the gods had something else in mind. Not an hour out of port and quite unexpectedly, a dense fog rapidly descended upon us. Visibility dropped to zero. We became disoriented fearing we'd crash into the other boats. The winds were erratic filling the mainsail from two opposing directions, a phenomena no one had ever seen before. I became aware of being extremely cold. In fact, I was freezing.
I turned to ask my crew mates if they were cold and to my shock, they were no longer standing next to me! One minute we're packed in the tiny cockpit like sardines, and the very next instant I'm alone at the helm. Dumfounded, I called out and located them on the back deck. They seemed perplexed and urged me to join them. It was a good 20 degrees warmer up there. At this point I noticed no one was steering the boat. The captain raised his arms high over his head, gleefully wiggling his hands and fingers in the air, and stated he hadn't been steering for the past ten minutes. Yet not a minute before I was certain he was standing behind me at the helm. Draped in dense fog, the vessel began a curious aquatic ballet slowly but deliberately turning on her axis. She completed three perfect pirouettes of 360-degree rotations, never once crossing the wind.
Just as suddenly as it had appeared the fog dissipated. To our utter astonishment we saw the two other boats pirouetting in exactly the same manner! A moment later we regained control of the vessel and pulled out of the vortex. Almost in unison all three boats turned for home.
We glided over a placid sea under a brilliant full moon and made our way back to port. I began to notice something remarkable. It seemed I'd entered into an altered state of awareness as if awaking from a dream. Although I had always been intuitive, I now found myself experiencing a powerful feeling of presence of my recently deceased father. I simply didn't know what to make of these events. I wasn't worried, our collective mood was one of utter tranquility. The lead boat entered the anchorage moments before we arrived to port. This boat had recently belonged to our captain and we knew the mooring well. Tonight as we entered the marina we found our old mooring empty, our sistership no where in sight. We scanned the horizon for mast movement but all was quiet. We were the only vessel underway in the tiny inlet.
We couldn't imagine where they had gone. In fact, there was no place they could go. Thinking perhaps they'd sailed through the tiny anchorage for sport, we took a short sail in search of them. But to no avail. Upon returning to their mooring, we were astonished to see they were not only tied up but with sails stowed. And, they were already in their dinghy rowing ashore! Nothing added up - time either seemed to stand still, or speed up. We were still scratching our heads when the third boat arrived. Back on shore we met briefly. This usually boisterous group seemed dazed and wanted nothing more than to go home, and go to bed. It was midnight. It seemed we'd been out for just two or three hours instead of six. As the weeks passed I realized we couldn't account for a good portion of the evening, but at the time no one thought anything of it.
The next weekend, as we readied ourselves for the big race, I brought up the events from the previous week. To my chagrin none of the gang had any interest in discussing it. To make matters worse, they acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened! I felt I'd entered the twilight zone. I eventually dropped the subject although the enigma has remained with me for years. Our captain has since passed away and I've lost contact with the old sailing gang. I've told the story many times calling it my "Lake Michigan Triangle" story. Years later I learned of a book written about mysterious events and disappearances of boats, and airplanes in the Great Lakes, entitled "The Great Lakes Triangle," which unfortunately is out of print. Today as I awaken to my own incredible saga, and personal history of anomalous phenomena, I've come to realize the events of that night may very well have been for my benefit, as yet another chapter in a series of bewildering, yet remarkable phenomenon, earmarking this journey I call my life.