Tuesday March 30th 1993.
The silvern light of the moon in its first quarter phase lay glistening upon the waves as the Sally Anne, a small off shore fishing boat that had been lobster potting just off the beaches of Lundy island, chugged slowly back to Ilfracombe Harbour.
Kevin Williams, the owner of the boat and its captain, sat in the small wheelhouse smoking an Old Holborn roll up and listening to Elvis on the tape recorder he had sellotaped to the back of his seat. He had been a fisherman all of his life, having left school in 1954 at fourteen years of age and becoming a crewman on his uncles boat. Fishing was all he knew and the sea was in his veins as his wife used to say. Every day without fail he would take the boat out from Ilfracome Harbour and check and lay his lobster pots. The income he made from selling the his catch to the local restaurants was enough to keep the boat running and that was all he wanted from life. The wind was light and cold and coming from the west, with just a few pale wispy clouds visible to the east. The constellations of Cancer and Leo were now beginning to replace the winter stars and the individual stars that formed each of the constellations were shining as polished little diamonds bright against the black velvet of the night. Outside the boat in all directions no other ships could be seen. Overhead and slightly to the north he could see a satellite slipping soundlessly across the sky, a lonely dot of man made light adrift amidst the majestic celestial spectacle of the stars and planet.
Along the shoreline the lights of houses and cottages that nestled against the dunes and beaches were beginning to blink out one by one as their tired occupants were heading off to bed. He looked again at his watch and saw that it was just after midnight. The wife would be in bed by now, he thought. Time for a beer. The ebb tide would delay his return to the harbour a little bit but he estimated that he would be back home in about an hour or so. That meant he could knock back two beers before he berthed the boat and headed off to bed. He sat back, reached over to the small fridge underneath the wheel and pulled out a can of Carlsberg lager. He pulled the ring pull back, then pointed the can away from his face as it hissed and discharged a few bubbles and spits of liquid. He then put the can to his lips and sipped away the froth from the edge of the can. and sighed as cold the beer bubbles burst on his tongue and flooded his mouth with flavour.
The waves were lapping gently against the side of the boat, rocking it left and right as he drifted slowly back to port and he yawned loudly as he began to relax with his can. The tape recorder was blaring out his favourite Elvis track, Hound Dog, when the lights on the boat began to dim. For a second as the power from the engine dipped, Elvis developed a slur and all the lights on the boat flickered. He stood up from his seat and walked out from under the small roof of the wheelhouse. The engine seemed to be fine now though. He shrugged and turned to go back towards his seat when the engine went totally dead, the lights flickered out and Elvis went totally silent.
The boat lay dead in the water. As the bulbs began to dim as the last of the heat went from the filaments the darkness around the boat became absolute. Apart from a sprinkling of distant glimmering lights along the shoreline and the light from the moon, he was in total blackness. He reached into his jacket and pulled out his torch he kept in his inner pocket and flicked the switch forward. Nothing. Bloody thing. He walked into the wheelhouse and sat down. He turned the ignition switch on and off a couple of times but the main batteries of the boat seemed dead. The key clunked, but the engine and starter motor were both silent.
Out in the distance of the Bristol Channel he could discern a glow on the horizon. Through the small glass window in the wheelhouse he could see that the light was definitely growing brighter. Christ, he thought, I hope that aint another boat coming this way. The last thing that he needed was a bloody collision with another boat heading for Ilfracombe.
He reached up and pulled down the radio handset from its cradle, depressed the transmit button and shouted into the handset, “ Hello, Hello - anyone there - over “. No response. Not even a crackle of radio static emanated from the radio set to suggest any sort of signal was being transmitted to the coastguard in Ilfracombe. As he replaced the handset he noticed that the glow which had been coming through the window had moved closer and was also considerably brighter.
It appeared to be at an angle of about thirty degrees above the horizon and rising. He walked out of the wheelhouse out onto the main deck area and stared into the darkness towards the light as it grew in intensity.
Whatever it was, it was definitely getting closer to the boat. Within a few moments the glow issued by the object had begun to paint his shadow across the deck of the boat and onto the waves. The light itself was a reddish hue with a blue silver sheen around the edges. Strange, he had never seen a boat give this sort of glow off it. This wasn’t the usual sort of maritime lighting used on boats in the area. He began to feel slightly nervous now. The light was growing brighter in intensity every second and also rising higher in relation to the horizon itself. A whistling sound began to impose itself upon the silence, like the high pitched whine of a drill that had hit resistance and which grew louder with every passing second.
He noticed that the stars in the sky above the boat were slowly vanishing from view, as though a black blanket were being pulled across the sky and hiding the them beneath it.
Suddenly a bolt of intense red light appeared out of the darkness about two feet from the right hand side of the boat. It came down in a straight line like a laser beam from high in the air immediately above the boat. Kevin threw his hands across his face and screamed with pain as the glow burst into his eyes instantly blinding him. Through his closed eyelids and the gaps between his interlaced fingers he could still see the light flickering across the boat, over the wheelhouse and over the engine at the stern. It seemed to be searching for something he thought.
After a second or two adjusting to the sudden illumination he opened his eyes, removed his hands from his face and gazed out at the back of the boat. The humming was now so loud it was like a swarm of bees were surrounding the boat. The intense laser light that had blinded him a few moments ago, suddenly flicked off and vanished.
Kevin stepped gingerly out of the wheelhouse and looked straight up above the boat.
Stationary in the air about ten feet above the wheelhouse was a massive black triangular metallic object. Almost as large as a Boeing 747 jumbo jet it was hovering, absolutely still, so close he felt he could reach out and touch the thing. The exterior of the craft appeared to be made of a smooth metallic type substance that glistened as though oiled, though no seams or rivets could be seen at all anywhere on its surface. It looked to him as though it were a ceramic type material, as no part of the object appeared to be bolted to any other part of the object. It was totally smooth and appeared to be made of a single piece of material. At the rear of the object and to the left, approximately 200 feet away, a bright blue light glowed underneath the object illuminating the waves beneath it. On the other side of the object on the right hand side, also about 200 feet away, another bright blue light glowed, throwing blue beams onto the crest of the waves. About ten feet away towards the prow of his boat and directly in front of him a red light appeared to be pulsating and glowing deep within the metal skin of the craft, as though the metal itself were somehow illuminated from within. The red light was shining through the metal as though the material of the object was translucent.
He could feel himself shaking with fear as the object began to move forwards slowly over the boat.
He felt terrified that the object, which must have weighed hundreds of tons, would suddenly fall down upon him and crush him and the boat with its weight. With no obvious source of power, he could not understand how the craft was able to stay motionless in the air. Every now and then the red light near to the boat would issue from the surface of the object and then plunge straight down into the dark waters beneath it, the light penetrating down to the sea bed about twenty five feet below. The object and the light seemed to be searching for something in the water or on the sea bed for as the craft moved forwards the light slipped to and forth beneath it with an almost surgical efficiency, sweeping to and fro in order to cover every inch of the sea bed. Within half a minute or so the entire mass of the object had passed over the boat and was now moving slowly towards the shore. Once it had moved totally over the boat the radio began to crackle and the lights on the boat began to flicker on for a moment or two and then fade away.
Kevin stood on the deck of the boat and watched the object moving slowly away. Elvis suddenly began to sing’ And you aint no friend of mine’ from the tape recorder and the engine on the boat spluttered back into life. He almost fell over the side with fright at the tape recorder coming on. Christ, he thought, almost Elvis almost gave him a bloody heart attack. He ran back into the wheelhouse, flicked on the main boat light and directed it towards the craft. It was now over a hundred feet away moving in complete silence towards the beach. He grabbed the radio and keyed the mike. Silence. He pressed the mike again and screamed into it, “ Ilfracombe are you there come in”. Silence. Though the lights had come back on the boat, it appeared the object was still blocking the radio signal.
He stood in the wheelhouse and watched the laser lights from the craft flickering back and forth as the object moved slowly into the distance. With trembling hands he reached into the pocket of his combat trousers, pulled out his baccy tin and quickly rolled another cigarette then lit it with a match. His fingers trembled and most of the tobacco he had stuffed into the dog eared roll up spilled the floor. A few strands of the tobacco managed to stay alight as he applied the match and this allowed him to draw a thin cloud of smoke deep into his lungs. For the first time in his whole life he felt afraid of being out on the water. He pushed the throttle handle down and the engine throbbed as it surged forward. The object was now just a sheet of darkness that was darker than the sky around it, visible in the distance only because it blocked out the stars above it. The boat began to push its pointed snout through the low waves, furrowing its way forward and he gunned the engine to its maximum speed and headed straight towards Ilfracombe harbour.
The radio crackled and the voice of mike in the coastguard office at Ilfracombe burst out of the speaker, “ Come in Sally Anne, are you there over “.
Kevin took the handset off the cradle of the radio and keyed the microphone, he coughed and tried to calm the fear he knew was in his voice, “ Sally Anne here over”. The voice on the other end of the radio replied, “ Hi Kev, we got a garbled message from you about ten minutes ago - are you o.k over “.
He looked back out across the waters. The object had now vanished out of sight overland. What should he say. He thought of what the lads in the pub would say if he said anything about this. If he reported seeing a UFO they would rip the piss out of him forever. He pressed the microphone, “ Yeah sorry mark - the engine cut out and I thought I might need a tow - everything o.k. now over “.
“ O.K mate “, the coastguard officer replied, “ If you need any help just let us know over and out “.
Kevin put the handset back and gazed towards the shore. He shivered, though whether with cold or fear he was no longer sure.