This week, several residents of Precitaville have heard a strange, deep-throated rumbling sound echoing through the air.
It’s been a topic of discussion in various neighborhood mailing lists — and Bernalwood’s inbox.
Indeed, your Bernalwood editor has actually heard the sound a few times as well. Personally, I thought it sounded like a very large diesel engine at idle, or a massive extraterrestrial spacecraft hovering over Bernal Hill. Or, at least, what I imagine a massive extraterrestrial spacecraft would sound like, if it was hovering over Bernal Hill.
Yesterday Neighbor John wrote to Bernalwood:
Does anybody know what that rumbling sound is? I’ve heard it for a couple of days now, runs through the night too. Weird.
Neighbor Linda heard it again this morning:
The noise is back. Time for some sleuthing.
As far as I can tell, it started on Monday afternoon/evening and continued until Tuesday morning. It started again Tuesday around noon, but quieter. I’m going to attribute that to the weird atmospheric noise bounce we get sometimes (remember Beyonce?). It’s also possible it was going the entire time and I just didn’t hear it.
Right now it’s loud and clear.
I can’t figure out where it’s coming from.
Yesterday evening I set out to figure it out. I walked Bessie to Precita to Shotwell, across to Cesar Chavez, down Cesar Chavez to Folsom, all around St. Anthony’s, up Folsom to Precita to Flynn school, and down Harrison to Cesar Chavez. Most of the time it was really quiet and of course the noise from Cesar Chavez made it inaudible. But when I crossed the pathway in the park I could hear it distinctly on Precita between Treat and Harrison.
I gave up and went home. Based on this I’m guessing it’s coming from the other side of Cesar Chavez, maybe down Harrison. I might try to drive around later but don’t have much time.
Maybe an intrepid reader of Bernalwood knows what this strange sound is.
Neighbor John says it sounds familiar:
Back before the Iraq invasion, the Navy did lots of training on the Bay. Might be the same. Seaborne pilot rescue. As I recall, they were doing some kind of mine clearing operations back in ’02 that had those big Sea Stallion helicopters dragging some kind of device thru water. Sound carries real well over water. Might be it.
I had a somewhat similar thought; that the noise might somehow be connected to Fleet Week, which happens this weekend. Or, possibly, the arrival of the amphibious assault ship USS America in town on Monday morning, which could validate Neighbor John’s Navy helicopters-at-sea-level theory.
Neighbor Andy was on the scene to report the USS America’s arrival:
So, maybe that?
Or, a massive extraterrestrial spacecraft hovering over Bernal Hill. Possibly with a cloaking device.
UPDATE 5;17 pm: Neighbor Rusty did some field research, and he thinks the noise is definitely coming from the USS America:
I’m 99% certain it’s the USS America (LHA-6) which is docked at the end of Bryant street at Pier 32. It’s the same sonic signature that I hear from north Bernal. I drove down to Mission Rock and could hear it coming from the direction of the Bay Bridge. Drove down the Embarcadero and sure enough the sound was quite apparent over the sound of traffic right in front of where LHA-6 was docked.
Here’s a visual of USS America here, now, courtesy of Raul:
And, a corroborating video!