Proceeding northward from Gulf of Tonkin, late fall of 1965


We were East of Hainan, heading North on typhoon evasion.  A storm was coming up and we had been ordered out of the Gulf to ride it out at sea.  I had the conn, and was watching ahead as we routinely did.  I saw ahead of us about a half-mile to a mile, a large area of water that was being flipped into the air, almost whipped into a froth.  It looked like hundreds, if not thousands, of fairly good sized fish were whipping it into a frenzy.  As we came closer, we were going past the disturbed area about a hundred yards away, and I could see porpoises taking station on the fringes of the disturbed water, then taking their turn shooting through the school of fish and feeding in their own turn.  Just like a bunch of cowboys cutting out their designated animal, I thought.  I had many times seen porpoises playing in our wake or surfing our bow wave, but this instilled in me a respect that has made me admire them even more.  I have no doubt they have a level of intelligence that is far above what we have accorded them, even while the Navy has used them to accomplish numerous war-style missions.