Clear sky, many stars, meteors, planet, moon, satellites; north-easterly wind.
Duration of sighting approx 60 seconds.
The witnesses, a senior scientist, and a scientist and university professor, were heading north on a yacht approximately 100 km off the west coast of the North Island. They were on a sailing watch in the middle of the night, looking up at the stars non-stop for reference points to steer towards.
During this time they noticed 5-6 flashing red lights rotating around what appeared to be an oval (possibly circular) shaped airborne object. By comparison, the object appeared roughly the size of a thumbnail, when the hand is held at arm’s length. It appeared to be around 500 metres above sea level, moving towards them in an easterly direction, and closer than any aircraft they sighted throughout the journey. The object was moving slowly towards them at roughly a ‘ten o’clock’ position in the sky in relation to their direction, on their port (left) side. The witnesses watched it for about 20 seconds, discussing what it could be, then concurred it’s movements were too erratic and at times, too fast to be an aircraft.
The object hovered, then made erratic darting movements for about 30 seconds, disappeared and then reappeared in a similar location for about 10 seconds, then disappeared once more altogether, from a standstill or hovering position. The reporting witness stated there were no visible clouds in the vicinity that could account for its very sudden disappearance.
That night the witnesses observed shooting stars, which were nothing like the object they saw with a specific light configuration and rotating pattern. The lights of the gas rigs off the coast of New Plymouth were well behind the position of the yacht when they sighted the object. There were no other vessels in sight for much of the 4 day trip up the coast, and any the witnesses did see were in their starboard side closer to land.
Both witnesses got the feeling the object disappeared suddenly because they were observing it.
The reporting witness stated she had seen something very similar with her family, at night, between Rangitoto and Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland.
UFOCUS NZ comment:
1. The erratic movements observed (fast, darting, hovering, disappearing/reappearing) are not the flight characteristics of known conventional aircraft.
2. The light configuration observed (“5-6 flashing red lights rotating around what appeared to be an oval shaped object”) does not conform to legal requirements for light configurations of aircraft in NZ airspace.
3. The shape outlined by this light configuration (“oval”, possibly circular viewed side on) is not that of any known conventional aircraft.
4. Likewise, the description does not fit that of a satellite or natural phenomenon (meteor, fireball), and the witnesses eliminated the possibility of the light being associated with the gas rigs.
5. Nor does it sound like Chinese lanterns (100 km off the coast) or flares (lights were rotating and uniform, appearing and disappearing).
There are several factors mentioned in the report which are often reported by UFO witnesses worldwide:
1. The object moved erratically.
2. It had the ability to disappear and reappear in another position (extinguish its lights, move rapidly to another position, reactivate its lights? invisibility technology?), despite there being no clouds in the area at the time.
3. The witnesses, “both got the feeling that it disappeared suddenly because we were observing it”. This implies they felt the object somehow had intelligent comprehension and intent. This kind of comment is reported frequently in association with thought from the witness and a subsequent action/reaction by the light/object being observed.