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Old 12-07-2009, 04:05 PM   #1
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Ever since I got to FL I've been hearing a strange snap, crackle, pop sound coming from under the boat.... It started about a month ago in St. Augustine and drove me nuts for about a week... for some reason we only heard it at night but I figure that may be because of the other noises that about during the day (boats, radio, us moving about and talking, etc) ...at first I thought it sounded like an electrical short crackling... so I spent a night crawling around in the bilges in the dark watching for a sparking... then shut down and tested in sequence most of the boats electrics... no sign of a short that I could find... even with the elctrics disconnected the sound persists.... so I keep looking, listening feeling the hull.... I can find nothing to explain the sount... when we left St. Augustine and started south again the sound seemed to stop.... was it just caused by the water moving under the boat (st. augustine has a pretty good current)... but now I'm in Stuart and there is very little current and the sound is back with a vengance... louder than ever and not only at night.... it's very inconsistent and seems to move around... sometimes its on one side of the keel then the other, then forward, then aft.... a local yachtsman suggested that it may be catfish eating off the hull... maybe.. that's a new one to me.... I ran aground a few times this year, all soft (mud) landings, but it gives me some concern now with the noise... could it be a crack in the bilge letting water in, crackling as it moves under the glass.... the boat is dry, no water ingress and looks ok from what I can see through the murky water here...

any suggestions that might put my mind at ease or point to something in need of attention... i'm dumb-founded.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:10 PM   #2
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Any mussels or barnacles starting to grow below the waterline?
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:17 PM   #3
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nothign substantial that I can tell... I keep the waterline clean and the bottom, having just recieved fresh antifoul in march this year, just seems to be slimy, no major growths as best I can see diving in this mucky water.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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Ever since I got to FL I've been hearing a strange snap, crackle, pop sound coming from under the boat....

any suggestions that might put my mind at ease or point to something in need of attention... i'm dumb-founded.
You can relax. Its common. Nothing to do with your hull. We have been told it's from shrimp and some other fish feeding.

Take a look at
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:02 PM   #5
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Amazing. I thought I knew quite a bit about marine creatures but this is new to me and absolutely stunning (no pun intended)

Thanks for the link!

Aye // Stephen
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:14 PM   #6
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How interesting. Thanks Evans.

Does anyone know - do these occur world wide?
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:22 PM   #7
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neeto... the clickity clack in the video is pretty close to what I'm hearing through the hull... may not be the pistol shrimpl himself but something like that... thanks for putting my mind at ease.
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:30 PM   #8
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Hey there, this is a familiar story!

When we purchased our wood boat, David slept onboard for 5 days before she was hauled out into the boatyard for our major work. He immediately heard these same noises and assumed it was nasty little wood-eating beasties nibbling away at the hull. However, within a couple days of hauling out our schooner, he purchased a little Rawson 30 to sail around here in San Diego while the work on the bigger boat was underway. The first night he slept on the Rawson (a fiberglass hull) the same crackle, pop, noises commenced. We later learned from local boaters "that's the tiny shrimp making noise--no worry, its nothing eating your hull!". We thought they were called something like "popcorn" shrimp. But pistol shrimp sounds right.

When we re-launched the schooner after 2-1/2 years in the boatyard...within hours we heard the "snap, crackle, pop" of the shrimp again We note they are most active at night and most active during a full moon--talk about weird.
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:32 PM   #9
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How interesting. Thanks Evans.

Does anyone know - do these occur world wide?
Yes, all over, from the tropics to the ice - but not in fresh water
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:48 PM   #10
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I heard them first off Catalina Island near Long Beach. I've heard them many times since. Kinda horrifying the first time.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:50 PM   #11
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Now that is pretty amazing and really interesting, thanks for the link ...
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:01 AM   #12
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Very Common in tropical waters - also one genus that lives in Fresh water caves

SNAPPING SHRIMP
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:42 AM   #13
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Hi, When we were in Raiatea a crew off a yacht just put back in the water heard noises and they said it sounded like termites eating away at the hull and asked if we had the same noise and we did. We have experienced it in many places and I think and could be wrong, that it is also related to the water conditions and wind direction with the noise being made by the water ripplettes hitting the hull and colliding with each other. Cheers John from Oz.
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:14 AM   #14
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:42 PM   #15
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Hi Everyone,

Atavist, you thought you had problems.

I've just purchased a steel, 36' Boden bilge keeler from Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia. Upon arrival at our first anchorage off Fraser Island on the way back to Brisbane we dropped anchor and my mate decided to charge up his mobile/cell phone from the plug on the power board. All of a sudden there's smoke snaking out from behind the power board. Sheer panic has by this time set in. Fire extinguishers broken out. Power board opened up and smouldering wire's melting insulation snubbed out. (I had noticed this one short loose wire behind the board upon first inspection and didn't think much of it at the time.) No worries. No more smoke. No obvious fire. Loose wire disconnected and removed. What it's purpose ever was, who knows?

Then the noise. Did we have cables smouldering somewhere behind the panels? No smoke. No smell. A few minutes of panic and urgent removal of access panels until I remembered that I'd heard the same noise on a 100' aluminium hulled schooner I'd sailed on. Not something you need to hear on your first night out on a new boat never the less.

All these years no one has ever been able to explain the noise. Now I know.

Atavist, we need not have worried after all!!

Cheers
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:17 PM   #16
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...no Snaps, Cracles and Pop in the North Sea or Baltic.

But when sailing in Portugal and Atlantic Spain (Bay of Cadiz) we noticed these noises too. They could be best heard when sticking the ear in the bilge of our fibreglass boat.*

Locals said fish do it but we never found out who in particular is responsibe.

And the Snap, Crackle and Pop is only present at anchor or sometimes in marinas, but never at sea over deep water.



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Old 12-23-2009, 09:33 PM   #17
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Worried me the first night (Matlacha FL.) The next day I saw them in the bait shop. Whew!
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:27 AM   #18
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Snapping shrimp are just about everywhere save the permanently icy bits of the world. I was asked this question just a few weeks ago by another long term cruiser, who noted hearing them just about wherever he went but never knew what they were. If you want to hear them out in the open during the day go walk near some mud flats at low tide- on a quiet day you can hear the action as these little guys use an acoustic 'gun' to stun their prey. One of the weird sounds and things that got me into marine biology in the first place!
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:22 AM   #19
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I just got back from the BVIs and heard the Snap, Crackle and Pop 3 nights out of 11, including the first night at the charter base. I'm glad I had read this post or I might have been concerned. Thanks everyone for your input.
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:28 PM   #20
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The snap, crackle, pop has stopped here in Stuart with the cold snap. I'm guessing all the critters ran for cover... if not they would probably be floating belly up with the fish that are littering the bay right now.
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