Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, two sailors lollygagging on the signal bridge deck. Clouds rolling in and the sky is getting dark. A cool wind is picking up and the signal flags are waving gently in the breeze. We hear a faint hissing sound from somewhere. My buddy looks up at the topmast and says "would you look at that?". The mast was glowing blue and making the hissing sound. Having never seen or experienced anything like that I pointed at it and said something like "wow, look at that". As I did so, I noticed small blue threads dancing on my finger tips. My buddy was doing the same thing and we thought that was way cool.
A first class signalman saw what we were doing and yanked us into the signal shack. "Do you two clowns know what you are doing?" he barked. Of course we had no idea. He said those small threads are called feelers. They are electric sparks that discharge from an object and make their way upwards toward a thunderstorm cloud. The cloud is building up a lightning charge and as soon as it sees a good path to ground it will follow the feeler back down to its point origin. In other words, we were acting like lightning rods inviting a lightning strike.
God sent an angel in the form of a grouchy old signalman that day. God protects sailors and fools.
Scary times, Bob!! Will I see you in a few weeks? Hoping to spend some time with you and Perry after my work is done.