Funnel Cloud Off Port-Side!

This morning about 6am, a funnel cloud was spotted off the port side of the ship. The captain kindly made an announcement over the PA to let us all know about it, so that we could go outside to take pictures (or to just enjoy the moment).

Everybody who was awake and done eating their breakfast (and even some who hadn't quite finished!) went out on deck as quick as they could to watch this amazing site.

The funnel lasted for long minutes, churning up the water at its base and (fortunately) staying miles away from our ship. It was bizarre and beautiful and not at all frightening.  The last surprised me.

I used to live in North Texas, at the southern end of what's not-so-affectionately known as "tornado alley" in the United States, and I've never seen a funnel cloud on land -- nor would I want to!  Just the sight of that strange greenish sky that often precedes a tornado is enough to strike fear in the hearts of many on land, myself included.  But out here, the funnel cloud seemed distant and contained.  Not so much a threat as a curiosity.

And as if that weren't enough, a partial rainbow appeared off to the left of the funnel. Some days are just lucky.

 [Photos by Bill Crawford]



How were you guys so calm? How were you sure that the funnel cloud wouldn't get too close to your ship? Also, do you know what forms a funnel cloud? Does it have something to do with the temperature or wind? Thanks and that would have been unbelievably incredible to see!



What was this? Was it a natural twister over the ocean or did it have something special to do with the area, ocean etc?

water tornado

I was wondering for the water tornado if it got close to the boat would it effect your drilling or the eco system under the water. Is it harsh enoughm to kill a person?
IDK baby tony

Wow the pics are amazing! How

Wow the pics are amazing! How lucky to see that.

I was wondering, are you

I was wondering, are you drilling into a divergent or a convergent plate boundery? -Schnaid

What different types of rocks

What different types of rocks have you found at the bottom of the sea floor?- Schnaid

Sea Floor Spreading

In our science class we are learning about sea floor spreading, and I was wondering if you were cutting into the oceanic crust or the continental crust?-Schnaid


oh my gosh were you scared?! and how do you feel about living in a ship for 2 weeks?! i woud feel very clostorphobis, and desperate to get on land! how long did it take to get your sea legs back?!

Why do you think there was a

Why do you think there was a funnel cloud near the boat? Also how do you think it formed?-Bain

When you guys saw that did it

When you guys saw that did it scare you?!? I would be scared:P.... do you think that you will miss being out there when you get back? Do you guys get really excited when you discover something ? Have you always been interested in this stuff? Please reply!:) Thanks-Iya A.


That must have been amazing to see. You answered my question...when I saw the pictures, my first question was; "were you guys nervous?"

- J. Collins