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Our Friendly, Neighbourhood Sea Serpent

June 19, 2015

One summer when I was a kid, my parents rented a house in Victoria, overlooking Cadboro Bay. It was a nice house, nice area, nice summer … and it introduced me to a cryptid I hadn’t known existed. I may even have seen it, though I suspect in hindsight it was really just a dark patch in the water.

Cadborosaus willsi, also known as Caddy, is a sea monster of the standard model. Long, thin, humps, horse-like head. There’ve been numerous sightings in recorded history, and the First Nations people along Vancouver Island and up to Alaska have creatures that resemble it as well. Caddy’s also been spotted as far south as San Francisco, so clearly this is a migratory species, or one with a large home range.

There’s not just sightings to go on, either. There’ve been carcasses (or potential ones, anyone) and a couple people have claimed to have caught (and released) live ones. We also have video, from just a few years ago.

As with most sea monsters, the standard explanations get trotted out. Caddy’s a group of sea lions, or a dead whale or shark, or a giant oarfish, most likely. The really hardcore cryptozoologists seem to be going for an extinct plesiosaur. I personally side with the oarfish people, since oarfish are weird, not that many people know about them, and so many of the sea monster descriptions look like they do.

Here’s a news article from Washington State, from 1892, about a sea monster that matches Caddy’s description. I have to say, I’m rather taken with the punny new name for it.

Here’s an interesting article on Caddy from Scientific Americanwhich also happens to be a fine example of scientific infighting and dry wit.

And here’s a Caddy I know for sure I saw:


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Harold Rhenisch permalink
    June 19, 2015 8:37 am

    I thought “The Gay and Festive Sea Serpent” would be a lovely new name.

    • anassarhenisch permalink*
      June 19, 2015 6:34 pm

      The one in the playground sure is! 🙂

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