The legends of sea serpents and sea monsters dates back to as early as 1555…the first historically documented description of the watery enigma was recalled by Olaus Magnus, an exiled Catholic archbishop of Sweden, who wrote that sailors off the coast of Norway had often seen a “Serpent…of vast magnitude, namely 200 feet long, and moreover 20 foot thick.
” A dangerous beast, it lived in caves along the shore and devoured both land and ocean creatures, including an occasional seaman. “This snake disquiets the shippers,” Olaus Magnus wrote, “and he puts up his head on high like a pillar.”
Many tales of sea serpents have been described as either vicious monsters that sink ships, or large long neck, docile creatures that have been seen with their head perched above the water.
Some of them have been referred to as Kraken, Mokele-mbembe, St. Augistine Monster, Nessie, Champ, Morag, Ogopogo, Chessie, and even Bobo, the Old Man of Monterey Bay.
As early as the 1920’s reports from sailors and fisherman alike were surfacing between the areas of Big Sir to Monterey Bay and the shores of Santa Cruz, of a strange long necked creature, whose body was shaped like a barrel, had hair like features all over its body and the face of a monkey.
Experts surmised the tall tales were nothing more than a description of an Elephant Seal, however, experienced sailors; fisherman and eye witness accounts were not as easily swayed.
In 1925 the carcass of a strange creature washed ashore upon what is now known as Natural Bridges (formally Moore Beach) in Santa Cruz County. Many believed this to be the legendary “Bobo” or the Old Man of Monterey Bay.
The frightful site seemed to bare credence to the legends of the Sea Monster of Monterey. With its duck like bill and barrel shaped body, experts initially were baffled. However upon further examination this sea monster like creature was discovered to not be a sea monster at all, but in fact another unusual enigma.
A rare Beaked Whale, from the Beardius family; a creature who has a duck like beak, that can reach a length of up to 43 feet and that can survive in depths of 1,000 feet deep below the sea, a very rare sea mammal –
One that is not indigenous to the waters of Monterey Bay, but in fact is found in the waters off of deep sea- shelf beds such as the Northern Pacific, Japan , China and the Bearing Sea.
However, despite this unusual find, reports continued to surface after the 1925 discovery and the elusive anomaly known as Bobo continues.
SC Sentinel Sep 28, 1950