I doubt that it was a meteorite. They would be commonplace to seamen and hardly cause for such a furor. (Chaplin, p. 23.)
Sunday 23 September
Since the sea had been calm and smooth the men complained, saying that since in that region there were no rough seas [Sargasso Sea], it would never blow for a return to Spain. But later the sea rose high and without wind, which astonished them, because of which the Admiral says here that the high sea was very necessary for me, a sign which had not appeared except in the time of the Jews when they left Egypt and complained against Moses, who took them out of captivity.
The sea "rising" without any reason might be explained that they encountered the North Equatorial Current while exiting the Sargasso Sea. Without this, it is hard to explain, except as undersea tremors.
The unexplained light, rising and then hovering in the west, is perhaps the most propitious phenomenon recorded in the Triangle. It happened on the eve of discovering the New World, and it inspired Columbus and his crew to sail on and discover the Bahamas. Columbus saw it first, then Pedro Gutiérrez, then "After the Admiral said it, it was seen once or twice; and it was as a small wax candle that arose and lifted up." What both arose (alçava) and lifted up (Levatava) imply is hard to say — whether it means it rose up, hovered, and then disappeared upward or merely vanished while levitating is unclear. (Quasar, p. 116.)
Today, it is hard for landfall specialists to explain it, since Columbus was too far at sea to have seen any bonfire or torch on land and local island fishermen would not have been so far at sea at night with torches to attract catch.
"You've never felt how small you were when looking at the ocean."
He laughed. "Never. Nor looking at the planets. Nor at mountain peaks. Nor at the Grand Canyon. Why should I? When I look at the ocean, I feel the greatness of man. I think of man's magnificent capacity that created this ship to conquer all that senseless space. When I look at mountain peaks, I think of tunnels and dynamite. When I look at the planets, I think of airplanes."
"Yes. And that particular sense of sacred rapture men say they experience in contemplating nature — I've never received it from nature, only from…" She stopped.
"Buildings," she whispered. "Skyscrapers."
"Why didn't you want to say that?"
"I… don't know."
"I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window — no, I don't feel how small I am — but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body."