I recently talked with a dear friend of mine who was a Navy seaman for ten years from WW II to Korea. We chatted about our experiences at sea, and he told me again about sailing to Oahu. Many times he saw on the horizon the green from the vegetation on that island ere he would see the land itself. He told me several times that he viewed a mirage of “that mountain” before he could see the real thing. I asked him if he meant Diamond Head, and he said, “Yes.” I asked him if, like my friend Admiral Fluckey, he had seen an upside-down mirage. He hesitated at first and then said, “Yes, like the upside-down ships that I saw as mirages in Puget Sound and Juan De Fuca” – a strait in Washington.
Because of the curvature of the earth, at first only the masts or superstructure of ships coming from beyond the horizon would be visible. Likewise as a sailor approaches an island, it appears on the horizon first as mountaintops, then the lower elevations come into view. For this reason a sailor would say, “We’ve raised the island!”
As Admiral Fluckey would say, “Come go with me as we approach the Hawaiian Islands. See the blue horizon turn green. Then see the upside-down mirage of ‘that mountain.’ Watch as Diamond Head comes into view above the horizon as just a peak and then much more.”
WE’VE RAISED OAHU!
by Evangelist Dan Manka
1. So many miles our ship had plied
With constant views all blue and wide.
2. Where once was blue there now is seen
The color of leaves of emerald green.
3. Below the horizon – there up ahead-
We see the image of Diamond Head.
4. A watery mirage is often found
Of that huge mountain, quite upside-down;
5. And there it is, above the sea,
The top of that mountain, rising free.
6. It grows and stands much plainer now
As Diamond Head rears up its brow.
7. “We’ve raised Oahu! We’re here at last!”
Heading for land we’re coming fast.
8. Now the full shape of that mountain looms
While details nearby pop in soon.
9. “We’ve raised Oahu! We’ll soon be ashore.
We won’t be plying the sea much more.”
10. “Now, keep a watch as we head for land.”
Watchmen are ready as they take their stand.
11. A cirrus cloud flies as a beautiful curl.
We ply toward port as we put into Pearl.
12. And so it is from Salvation Bay,
God sends each ship out on its way.
13. With chart and helm we ply life’s sea
With sins forgiven – from sin set free.
14.Our destination: Heaven, some future day,
And God will guide us along life’s way.
15. We’re alone on the sea, but Pilot’s aboard.
We sing songs of Zion with an angel chord.
16. God gave us the chart, but He keeps the log.
He guided us through the storm, the rain, and the fog.
17. God asked us to sail, to watch and be bold.
Though the half of Heaven has yet to be told.
18. Off in the distance one day is seen
The color of Heaven in “new life green.”
19. Dimly we see our heavenly goal
As we watch out for rocks, a reef, and a shoal.
20. The Christian may see Heaven to rise
As off in the distance he scans with his eyes.
21. God has raised Heaven! It’s nearing you see.
He’s bringing us home – to the end of Life’s sea.
Attached: Here is a photograph of a mirage that I took at the Great Salt Flats west of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. This mountain appears to be floating in the sky. One can see blue sky under part of the mountain.