These are stories from DiverAnon discussing potential biological origins of the bloop or other unidentified sea sounds, the black carpet, and generally just what bizarre organisms may still be lurking undiscovered. It'll be a long time before the sea gives up all it's mysteries after all.
This next story is supposedly bonafide true- taken from the journal of a now deceased biologist/researcher. I haven't seen the pages of the journal myself, but I'm working on getting them sent to me if possible. I'll share them with you if I ever manage to get my hands on them. For now, enjoy an abridged version.
UPDATE: If you want to talk more about this phenomenon then join our forums and discuss your thoughts on this topic here. Thank you!
Just heard a sperm whale on the hydrophone. Very unusual for this area and time of year. Frequency a few hertz lower than normal. Possibly a new subspecies?
Pod is upset. Still hearing the sperm whale. Haven't seen Marv today, hope the old codger is okay.
Pod remains agitated. Second day in a row without a sighting of Marv's scarred old dorsal. Starting to get worried.
Heard Marv on the hydrophone today. Good to know the old man is okay.
Keep hearing Marv on the hydrophone. He sounds distressed. Pod is still agitated.
If this keeps up much longer I might dive and check up on him.
Pod is extremely agitated. Nudged me back to the surface when I tried to dive.
I'm not sure if I should write this down. I feel like I'm losing my mind. What I saw couldn't have been real.
It's killing the salmon. It's not eating them, they just float to the surface to rot. They're refusing to eat the dead salmon. Won't be long before they starve.
Motherf**ker started singing again.
I guess I'm going down to try and deal with this thing. I don't think I'm crazy. I'm going to write down what happened on my last dive, in case something goes wrong.
-I used the hydrophone to roughly triangulate where Marv's calls were coming from. Checked the depth, got my gear ready and dove. The Pod kept nudging me back to the surface, but I kept swimming down and eventually they stopped, circling me from a distance and making odd, mournful noises I'd never heard an Orca make before. I pressed on, determined to find Marv and get to the bottom of what was happening. Poor bastard. After a certain depth, the Pod gave up trying to stop me and circled from above, crying out in their own odd way.
I reached the bottom, but couldn’t spot Marv immediately. I could hear him, but I couldn’t spot his location. It sounded like he was right next to me, even though I couldn’t see him. I figured at the time that it was the channel walls bouncing the sound around and continued to search.
Eventually, I found him. He was floating, immobilized and trapped in some sort of strange translucent substance.
He seemed unresponsive, but I could still hear him. It seemed impossible he could be alive after so long under water, but he still seemed to be vocalizing. Took out my knife and tried to cut what I assumed at the time to be degraded plastic packaging of some sort. The instant my hand made contact, pain came ripping up my arm and pulsed through my entire body. I saw stars and when I came to, I was floating immobilized next to Marv.
I tried moving, but I was completely paralyzed. I don't think I've ever been more scared in my life. Slowly, I felt the tendril that had wrapped around my arm begin to tug me downward. I frantically tried to turn my head and see what was below me, but I couldn't even move my eyes. It continued to tug me down at a snail's pace, turning my body with it.
As the sea floor tilted into view, I realized something was horrible wrong. The sea floor was writhing, the sediment shifting and pulsating. As my view tilted further downward, I saw what the filament was pulling me down towards. Protruding out of the mass of writhing sand was what I can only describe as a massive sea anemone of some sort, with bulbous protruding growths reaching up from the sea floor towards me. And inch by inch, I was being dragged towards it.
I couldn't scream, I couldn't cry, I couldn't even close my eyes. All I could do is watch as this thing reeled me in like a fish. The f**ker took it's time. Either it was slow or it liked it's food well marinated in fear. I'm sure there's worse ways to die, but this is probably pretty high up there.
I was pulled in, inch by inch until it grasped me. I can still remember the sensation. Thousands of feelers pinching my arms and face, rough like sandpaper. Pulling me further in. I still couldn't move, but inside my head I was screaming. The mass pulled me further in with a rippling motion, each pulse pulling me farther and farther down.
I think I accepted that I was dead somewhere around the time my head was completely pulled into the mass. All I could hear was the rough rasping of the thing as it rubbed against my mask, pulling me deeper into itself. I'm not sure if I blacked out or went catatonic after that, but when I came to I was floating freely in a cloud of murky sediment.
All around me where the same bulbous, writhing feelers that had pulled me in, but disconnected and squirming alone, directionless. I took a second to orient myself and calm down, when something brushed past me in the water. If I wasn't still paralyzed I would have shit myself. It came again, a massive dark silhouette shooting through the water just above the sea floor.
In it's wake, I could see thousands of the strange bulbous feelers being pulled up off the sea bed. That's when I heard it. The familiar, lovely call. It was Shae, and I quickly began to see several other familiar shapes as the rest of the pod joined her.
They shot through the dark like torpedoes, making an odd clicking vocalization that I've never heard before. Strange filaments like the one that had grabbed me and Marv trailed upwards from the mass, but the whales gracefully ducked between them and continued to skim the ocean floor, kicking up clouds of sediment and thousands of individual feelers.
Eventually, I felt Shae and several of the others nudging me towards the surface. They even gave me time to decompress before pushing me up to the surface. It took about an hour of sitting on the surface, Shae gently nudging me and clicking in what I assume was concern before I finally regained enough mobility to climb back into my boat.
The old girl seemed pretty excited when I finally managed to flop inside.
I guess whatever was down there didn't really appreciate having it's lunch stolen, so now it seems to be killing the salmon. I don't know what I'm going to do yet, but I’ll be damned if I let them starve.
That was the last entry in the journal, and the writer is apparently missing/deceased. Still trying to see if I can actually get my hands on the journal itself or some pictures of it, but the owner is a very odd person and is being uncooperative at the moment. I'm going to leave for a bit and maybe come back with some more stories later.
The Bloop was an ultra low frequency underwater sound recorded by NOAA in 1997. It was unlike any other sounds ever recorded underwater, due to it's frequency and the fact it was recorded by other sensors thousands of miles from its estimated source. It is consistent with other marine animal noises due to its rapidly changing frequency but it would be an animal many times larger than the Blue Whale, the largest animal to ever exist. The consensus by most scientists is that it was caused by geological activity.
Description from Diver Anon
The basic gist that I can remember is that this thing is some sort of colony organism, like a giant moving coral. It's a giant black carpet of macrobiotic cells that crawls over the ocean floor, sifting through nutrients with millions of tiny feelers. Nobody has ever gotten a good estimate of the size other than "It's big" and apparently it makes a noise similar to this “bloop” thing. One guy apparently saw it swimming/riding the currents as well, so it does more than just crawl on the ocean floor. I suppose you could call it a one of a kind organism, but I"m not sure if that applies to colony organisms like this.
Okay this is going to take a little while to get to the point, but basically the bloop is real and it's biological. Well I don't know really, my point is I am now absolutely certain there is something huge down there, that's alive, capable of producing noises like that.
I don't know if the "bloop" was biological in origin, in fact to call this entire thing the "bloop" seems a little disingenuous. Look at all the unidentified ocean sounds there are, there's quite a bit. Slow down, Julia, Upsweep, Train, among others. Most of these are explained away with seismic activity while some have no satisfying answer. It"s all a load of nonsense, I'm convinced.
Most people would never know it though, because they have only the sound itself to go off of. In fact, the only reason I can come here now to make such a bold statement is because of a guy I met some six years ago.
He was an old navy fellow. I guess he must've not been the best at finances or fallen on hard times, because he was working as an assistant dive instructor at the place I went to go get certified. He kept to himself mostly but when he did speak he was lively and funny, so I found him good company. I'd joke around sometimes and he seemed to understand my sense of humor, so we became somewhat like friends.
After I'd gotten certified (I'm in Florida) I went diving a few times for a period of about a month within the area. There were nice reefs and stuff so I’d often run into the guy and talk to him. Eventually he confided in me that he didn't have many friends and his wife had died some time ago, eventually, perhaps a bit reluctantly, he mentioned to me in excited, hushed tones about his “discovery”. I persuaded him to tell me more about this, and it’s here you must understand why most people never reach the truth.
He picked out a fat folder he kept under close watch and he started to show me what he'd seen. He had a picture of the bloop's sound recording on there but it was just one afterthought amongst tons, tons of seemingly minor, uneventful instances and findings that occurred at sea. As I'd come to see however, eventually these did form substantial evidence for his little theory.
Some stuff was weird. Like I remember there being a newspaper clipping in there from the 80s that described the strange find of a sea-trawler. Supposedly they had drawn up (in very poor condition) something pretty enigmatic.
It seemed to be a massive flap of just, cell mass. It was described as having a sort of milky translucence, and the entire length of the segment was estimated at around 80-100 ft long. The thing was clearly in bad shape though, even as it rippled in the waves it was clear there were large tears in it, and these tears seemed to get far more numerous as the entire thing seemed to shrink and dissolve. The net brought up what it could but the thing just seemed to fall apart entirely, pieces of the jelly-like substance literally seeped out through the holes in the net, and the bits that were brought on deck seemed to dissociate even quicker than they had in the water.
I remember the clipping describing the weird find as having “a texture like a jellyfish” but other than that there didn't seem to be any mention of samples being taken or studied.
A lot of the stuff in there was pretty mundane though. There were a few clippings of similar shit in local papers, like 2 or 3 that all told of some "jellyfish-like creature" washing up along a beach or something. The segments where described as being like 10 to 16ft in length I think. One had a printed picture of it. It didn't really look anything like a jellyfish though, except maybe in texture. There weren’t any tentacles I could see, nor could I see a distinctive bell or anything, it just looked like a flat flap of something.
But yeah looking through that stuff did get tedious at times. The guy had actually printed out Wikipedia pages (lol) to put in there about the life cycles of sea-squirts, jellyfish, comb jellies, a bunch of stuff I can't really even remember desu.
I should mention this happened over several days, the guy seemed continuously reluctant to discuss this with me, and I wouldn't push it every single time, though I was pretty pushy. He seemed to want to dance around the point with me. He’d start with all the mundane shit and recount it to me in sometimes painful detail. Did you know that sea squirts have a mobile form before they settle down and become sedentary? Yeah I do know, they’re also an ancestor to all vertebrae life.
Sometimes we wouldn’t even look at the folder, I’d implore him to say more about what this was all about and he’d go on about his experience in the navy. He'd been on his share of submarines and while he didn’t work on sonar he had a bunch of buddies who did, so said he liked to think he knew what sort of things were normal and what wasn’t with regards to signals of that nature.
That was also in the folder, a bunch of old naval logs. Weird charts and what not, I wasn't really sure what they were, but he explained to me that they were basically recordings of notable pings and audio sounds. He'd point to one and go "that's a whale" or "that's another submarine" or "that's machinery from an oil refinery" etc, all types of noise, mostly mechanical, but occasionally biological or seismological.
Do you guys know about salps? Salps are basically free-swimming sea-squirts. They get around by jet propulsion and are actually very efficient at doing this. They might superficially look like jellies but they completely BTFO them in terms of cellular complexity.
They have a bizarre life cycle, basically their form alternates across generations. They alternate from a solitary existence to a communal one where they bunch together, see pic related. Additionally they have an earlier stage where they resemble primitive vertebrates, having a little notochord.
The salps can grow incredibly quickly, faster than any other multicellular animal when there is a phytoplankton bloom, then die off just as quickly. When they ingest too much food they run the risk of sinking to the ocean floor and dying.
Do you guys know about zooids? Zooids are basically an alternative to multicellularity. Basically instead of one organism making different cells for a bunch of different purposes, different organisms come together and each specialize in a certain type of organ to make a greater "creature". Portuguese Man of War and comb jellies are zooids.
Basically these are the discussions I had with my naval "buddy" during this time period.
It was in the summer of 2002 that my friend had the opportunity to discuss this with a scientist. Even back then there was already a lot on his mind, and it was the conversation with this scientist that really let him crystalize his theory.
At this point he'd already been curious about some mysterious deep sea creature for a long time, but it was sort of an "on and off" type deal, and his wonderings would stagnate for years at a time.
Nevertheless at this time he caught a poster advertising a convention for marine biologists. The public was to be invited and there were to be talks, an opportunity for questions, and breakfast etc.
The thing took place in one of those fancy/sort of cozy hotels nestled in the Florida suburbs. The talks were held in specific rooms, and attendance was pretty low, probably because "those idiots scheduled it on Monday at 10 am". My friend actually skipped work that day just to go.
He was the one asking most of the questions during the event, but he didn't want to press them too much for fear of "sounding like some sort of lunatic", since all his questions were trying to point to what was turning and rolling in his mind.
So after the talk they all went to have breakfast in the hotel's courtyard, and it was here that my buddy approached the scientists more openly in the hopes that they might be able to make sense of "his experience" (he had not yet told me what that was). He eventually ended up sitting down with a guy about ten years older than him. He seemed friendly enough, seemed happy to get the attention, but my buddy couldn't shake a certain condescending tone radiating from the guy.
There he sort of danced around the topic and made vague questions about what sort of life lived in the deep sea and if there could be anything undiscovered hiding there. He was surprised to hear the scientist answering the questions somewhat in the affirmative.
He also asked about sea-squirts, asked if there was anything like a free swimming one. He was again surprised to know the answer was yes, and this is how he first learned of salps, which he would later research extensively.
I want to take a brief aside here to mention something related. Consider how little we know, consider how well things can hide. Now I don't mean this in the gay sense that the deep sea could be housing the next action movie villain, I don't mean it in the way people usually associate those terms. What I mean is sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight.
Consider how little we know about certain obscure, small creatures nobody cares about. Now consider how much LESS we know about the genetics of those creatures.
We haven't sequences very many of them, and we're certainly not at the point where we can determine what segment of DNA does what in an organism, nor can we say with excellent certainty about creatures seldom studied what genes are turned on and off and when. Creatures can vary tremendously in their life cycles. Consider how so many insects spend the overwhelming majority of their life as a caterpillar. The genes for the butterfly have not yet been activated.
And when it does become a butterfly this only occurs for a fraction of its life, a few days compared to years. Now pair this with the alternating life history of sea slaps and a picture begins to form.
Anyway to return to my navy buddy's little conversation, it appeared someone had overheard them, another scientist. He seemed a bit rougher, sorta like a redneck, but he saw a very passionate discussion taking place and ambled over from the rather uneventful table he was located at. The two caught him up on manners pertaining to the discussion.
After the subject of salps and sea squirts had been exhausted, my buddy started to change the subject to the potential for enormous, yet undiscovered creatures. They scientists, again, were rather optimistic. I asked my buddy if they ever mentioned the possible energy constraints of such a thing, he said they didn't. Rather that they pointed to the existence of giant and colossal squids, massive creatures who still eluded mankind, as evidence that there might be more down there. Eventually the redneck-looking biologist mentioned the bloop, well, sort of collectively. Back then they didn’t call it the “bloop”, and I don’t think my friend ever used that word to list it either. The biologist just mentioned a series of powerful, underwater sounds recorded mostly in the 90s by NOAA. He mentioned their origin was a mystery and that they didn’t seem to be mechanical or geological in origin. Both scientists agreed it matched the profile most closely of something biological, but said it would have to be several times the size of a blue whale to produce that noise. My friend responded, almost immediately, by asking if salps could produce sound. Or if there was any way a salp could evolve to produce sound.
The original scientist just said that there wasn't any way, salps had no ability to vocalize. The second guy said it might be possible if they developed something like a sack of air, and at that point all it would take would be some musculature to provide vibrations and then you’d technically have a salp capable of making noise.
The simpler an organism is the quicker it can evolve features that may seem radically against the essence of anatomy. A mosasaurs is never realistically going to evolve gills, yet things like worms and jellyfish never cease to surprise us with how much their anatomy can vary and alter itself.
Anyway my friend was always skeptical of scientists and at some point I'm inclined to agree, at least to some extent. I was researching the Fermi Paradox the other day, basically if life is supposed be such a common occurrence why don't we detect advanced alien civilizations? Among the reasons listed where that they were present, just hidden, or whatnot, basically something in support of UFOs, here’s how a scientist responded to that claim.
He said he had "Aversion to the idea, simply because of its long association with crackpots, gives crackpots altogether too much influence."
This is the consequence of the snootiness circle jerking of high science. Once people start putting their reputation over their dedication to the truth or sense of curiosity, or ability to second guess themselves, then that's when you get things like this. Scientists rejecting or largely refusing to engage certain topics simply because it goes against what's deemed respectable by their peers.
Regardless my friend kept in contact with the acquaintances he'd made that day. And as he continued to ponder what was dominating his mind he'd often defer to them, asking all manner of questions. It was like this that he learned of zooids.
So now my friend was in a position to start piecing together the nature of what he thought lurked beneath the ocean. He figured the creatures already have a tendency to aggregate. Perhaps if this was taken further they could fuse more completely into one organism. Perhaps they could form colonies within colonies, different batches specializing in different structures.
My friend made several crude sketches of what he thought the "finished product" might look like. They looked a bit like pic related, though a bit messier, with many small protruding tubes and sacks, which seemed to be asymmetrical in orientation. Basically a "super salp" resembling a single one, but burdened with many other components.
The theory goes that these things, throughout most of their life, resemble an inconspicuous sea salp. Indeed many likely go through their entire lives never deviating from this phase. Hell they might even be a species we know of already. But he figured, every now and then something, some set of specific favorable conditions must trigger a kind of bizarre and extreme metamorphosis to create the "super salp" he theorized.
Of course that leaves the question of why? And it is a big question, why would an organism evolve to do this, what benefit would it have? Again he found himself unable to answer this question, so for a long time his research into the matter stagnated.
My buddy eventually ran into the issue of energetics, and mainly its limits in the deep sea where there is not enough food to support the large, active predators we see shooting through the shallows.
The answer eventually came to him after much research and talks with scientists, which were few and far between.
Does anyone know what pic related is? It's a photosynthetic slug. The slug ingests either plants of cyanobacteria, I don't recall which, and they essentially have a mutualistic relationship where the photosynthetic creatures live inside the slug while the slug gets energy from the creatures, making it the only animal, if I'm not mistaken, that's able to derive energy from photosynthesis in this way.
This is not the only creature to do this, and this is not an infrequent occurrence. Vibrio bacteria live inside many deep sea fish, squid, and shrimp and are responsible for creating bioluminescence.
Anyway, with his resources and after enough pushing he found that there were creatures out there that did not derive their energy from the sun, rather the source of their energy was around hydrothermal vents. Chemosynthesis. The primary producers of this odd food chain are extremophile bacteria and archaea.
It was suggested to him by a scientist that high hypothetical “super salp” might be able to grow to far larger sizes than normal if it had developed such a symbiotic relationship with these extremophile bacteria, because here it'd be able to feed on the chemicals from hydrothermal vents more or less directly. Remember how there's less energy the higher the trophic level? This skips all that. Couple this with filter feeding, which is likely to occur, because it is likely to some extent plentiful food which triggers the aggregation process in the first place, and you have a creature that can get far, far more energy than expected for the deep sea, a phantom food chain if you will.
Anyway after much reading and communication he refined his theory a bit. He was convinced that symbiotic salps lived and had various population pockets around hydrothermal vents. Salps that had evolved gas sacks and the ability to produce sound with them. This would serve as a primitive form of communication.
He figured some rare event, perhaps only occurring every thousand years, would transpire. Perhaps a super-abundance of food at a certain location would spur it on, or perhaps seismological activity would trigger it. Regardless he reasoned at this point the salps would use either sonic or chemical signaling. When they sense a certain critical mass is approached they'd aggregate and fuse, forming the “super salp”.
Why would they do this? Well he figured a super salp would be a much sturdier thing, with a much bigger jet with which it could move great distances. He also figured it must have some way to detect seismological activity, though I personally don't think this is necessary.
He said it would rapidly cruise through the deep ocean in search of areas of seismological activity, indeed it is in areas of strong underwater volcanic/geologic activity where hydrothermal vents most often occur. Here it would find these hydrothermal vents and woft the emerging sediments from it, nurturing itself. It would make many such trips, spreading its progeny far and wide across all hydrothermal vent pockets it could.
This spectacular stage of its life needn't last long, perhaps only a few weeks, maybe a little more for the colossal thing to do what it does before dying.
Something my friend was very adamant about, which I'd only later figure out why, was that this creature was semi-rigid, it had some sort of skeleton, or maybe just strong tethers of collagen to keep it together.
He reasoned maybe the bacteria were responsible for producing this, or at least holding it together. He reasoned the bacteria required extreme pressures to live, where the super salp to venture too far into waters not sufficiently deep, the bacteria would very quickly die off en masse, it's support structure would separate from it, and it would basically fall apart.
Well, it is here my story reaches it's conclusion. I understand it's quite lengthy, and that may not appeal to all, but I wanted to get this across in its entirety.
My long winded story really comes to a close when I at last found out why my friend had become so obsessed over this matter to begin with. After a little over a week of being evasive, or providing unrelated info, or building up his “theory” he at last divulged the experience. It wasn't his experience, it was the experience of one of his sonar buddies, stationed on a ship in the southern pacific ocean, very far away from our navy friend.
It was down there that he got a signal that seemed to defy logic. It was huge, almost impossibly huge, and it seemed to defy explanation in more ways than one. It was hard to get a good fix with it on the sonar, it seemed to be hollow, not completely solid. He kept on registering various discrete pieces that all seemed to be within the entire thing, whose shape sometimes registered more clearly or other times like a messy blur. It also seemed to be moving, and towards the ship at that at a speed very surprising for its size, about six to ten knots, he'd later recall.
He quickly alerted his superior, who analyzed the situation. He ordered them to turn to avoid the thing, but it was clear they wouldn't clear it entirely. In fact, they almost did clear it entirely, save for a single, noticeable scrape. The submarine made a sizeable impact with whatever this thing was, and there was a noticeable pushback, this was not something entirely gelatinous but something very much semi-rigid.
When they got up to the surface, all a bit shaken they noticed the ship's propeller was completely caked in a kind of organic goo. Sonar guy took some samples. The captain said he’d make a report, but when more dives in the same area reported nothing, he called off the idea, quickly dismissing what had happened as nothing out of the ordinary.
Sonar guy took the samples in to a lab for genetic testing. After a few weeks time he got the results back, with the scientists there positively declaring what was found was most definitely a sea-squirt. He decided not to pursue the matter further, and this info was relayed to my navy friend.
What shocked him most was the scale of the thing the sonar implied, based on his friend's estimations, the thing was over 1000 feet long.
I’d like to add a brief little epilogue, with things like these there's always important details you might miss.
But there is reason to doubt the ice quake hypothesis, and I find it hard to believe it. It seems like a band-aid to me. Something that was previously so widely assumed to be biological in origin is now found to be “consistent” with various geologic movements. I don't buy it. At the sizes and loudness we're talking about anything biological could be said to be "consistent" with the geological in terms of pitch and resonance. Seems the big deciding factor for it being "geological" is that the sounds all occurred near fault lines, well, that’s exactly where the super salp would be.