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'Ghost ship!': Puzzling ocean spray off B.C. coast captured on video

Fisheries and Oceans Canada solved the mystery.

A woman was sitting in her vehicle at Esquimalt Lagoon when a sight in the distance caught her attention. 

Brittany Kinnersley took out her phone just after 9 a.m. Thursday when she saw water spraying above the ocean. 

"At the time, I didn't know what it was. It looked like water in the air,” she explains during an interview with Glacier Media. "I was confused."

She watched as the water sprayed ‘like a waterfall' and noticed two boats on each side.

At first, she questioned if there was a fire on a ship and if the spray was coming from water trying to put it out.

"It was very cool to witness,” she says.

The incident lasted about 10 minutes and many other people stopped to film it as well. 

After the ‘water’ stopped, a third boat appeared, says Kinnersley.

Confused by what she witnessed, she posted the videos and images to a local Facebook page.

Many people chimed in online with their thoughts, some saying it might be the Black Pearl, a fictional ship from the movie the Pirates of the Caribbean. Another commenter suggested it was a ‘ghost ship.’

Another person questioned if it was a supply ship spotted in the area

Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan says he and fellow meteorologists looked at the video. 

"We can say that it is not meteorologically driven," says Castellan. "We can close the door on a waterspout or any other phenomenon that we may have considered."

Waterspouts, a vortex over water, do occur in the spring and fall, but this does not appear to be the case in this situation. 

"We do actually have four warnings for waterspout days but today is not one of those days," he says. 

Glacier Media reached out to numerous agencies trying to figure out what the ocean spray was from, including CFB Esquimalt.

“It doesn’t appear an RCN (Royal Canadian Navy) vessel was involved in this instance,” says a CFB Esquimalt spokesperson.

The investigation continued, and fortunately, a communications advisor for the Canadian Coast Guard was able to solve the mystery.

A Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson says there was a Canadian warship in the area at the time. But that was not what caused the spray.

Turns out, it was a fire drill.

“You are in luck! Apparently, the Maersk Tender and Maersk Trader left Ogden Point this morning with pilots onboard,” says the spokesperson.

“They were doing fire drills using water cannons. That’s what folks were seeing.”