Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 23rd, 2010
Eyewitness Chuck Crosby shares a new encounter of some interest:
“I was tuna fishing with a friend last week about 40 miles off out between Willipa Bay and Long Beach (off Washington State) and saw this huge thing in the water just bobbing around. I thought it was a log/stump or something. I trolled toward it and it just sat there watching us as we trolled by. I stayed about a hundred feet or so away from it. My fishing buddy (who owned and operated commercial fish and crab boats in Alaska for decades) just looked at it and we could not figure out what the heck it was. On the evening of 9/20/2010, as I was telling my daughter about it, my wife looked up manatee on the internet and THAT WAS IT!!!
“I did the research and couldn’t figure out how that thing could possibly be in our Washington State waters. Then I found this site and read about the Steller’s Sea Cow that was spotted a few years ago [Washington State, 2006]. It was in generally the same area and I am sure that it was the same type of animal.”
A selection of passages from The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep details old and recent encounters with Steller’s Sea Cows.
In followup questioning of Mr. Crosby, he filled in more details about his encounter:
What color was it? What did it look like?
“It was dark like very dark gray or black. I did not get close enough to it to tell if it had smooth skin or if it had whiskers or hair. It did not have hair like a person.”
Did you take a photograph of it?
“This is the embarrassing part. I did not take a picture. My buddy and I were trolling for tuna and it had been pretty quiet for a while. The water was very calm last Tuesday [September 14, 2010] and the fog was always there but it would kind of lift up and settle down. At the time we saw this thing it was lifted pretty good and it almost looked like the sun might break through. Anyway I saw this thing from quite a distance away and changed my troll to get over that way to see what it might be. We see stuff floating in the water sometimes and I thought it looked weird for a stump or something so I trolled that way. I deliberately did not troll right toward it as I got closer because I could see it was some kind of animal or something and I did not want to scare it away. We trolled right past it at about 50 to 100 feet away and it did not go away. I had a camera on the boat but I was thinking what the heck is that thing, when I get home I am going to look that up and see what it is. It looked somewhat familiar but I just couldn’t remember what.
“I had no idea that it was something that should not be there or that was totally out of its normal habitat. Just the head was out of the water and I
didn’t think that it would take a very good photo so I didn’t bother with the camera. I really regret that now.”
What was it doing?
“Like I said earlier it was just floating out there in the water with only its head and maybe a little shoulder above the water. It did look old but I have no idea about that. It did not appear to be threatened or afraid and as I said it watched us for well over 5 minutes and maybe ten. I did not even notice as we trolled away if it went under the water or was still floating.We just kind of forgot about it.”
Did you report the sighting to anyone?
“I really haven’t told anyone about the sighting except the wife and daughter until Monday night when they looked it up and found that this might have been a very rare sighting. Since then I have only spoken with a few people about it at my office.”
Do you think anyone else saw it?
“There were a couple of other commercial boats working the area at the time but were probably not within sight distance of the animal at the same time that we were there. There was one big boat out there with orange buoys out and it looked like they were long lining for something although we could not figure that out either because is was around a thousand feet deep there.”
How was your day otherwise?
“We did have a pretty good day of tuna fishing. We are pretty new at the tuna thing but it was a nice day. We caught a few and if we had been a little more experienced I am sure we would have done better.”
Please tell me more about the drawing you did.
“I am a horrible artist. I did draw it for my wife after I got home and she recognized it as a manatee right away.”
More recently, as cited in the field guide, marine biologists Bret Weinstein and James Patton of the University of California have noted that there are vague reports of Steller’s Sea Cows from along the northwest coast of North America and the northeast coast of Asia, in the Arctic Ocean and Greenland. If such reports are not discounted, then Hydramalis gigas stelleri, or a subspecies, may still be alive today.
This sighting occurred on September 14, 2010. Can’t get news any hotter than this. Taking into account all of the marine mammal laws, some organization in Washington State should send out a search party to see if it is still around and take some photographs!!
Updated with drawings, which do appear to mirror the look of a sea elephant.
Mature sea elephant.
Young sea elephant swimming.