Tuesday 28 August 2012

Another Deception Bay Sea Serpent

     The best documented Australian "sea serpent" was an elongated, inquisitive mystery animal which frequented Deception Bay in the period 1959/60. Situated at approximately 153° 7' E, 27° 9' S, not far north of Brisbane, Queensland, Deception Bay is a sub-section of Moreton Bay. Roughly semicircular in shape, it is bounded on the south by Scarborough, the northernmost part of the Redcliffe peninsula, and on the north by Bribie Island. I can never hear the name, Deception Bay without thinking, "monster" because the first time I heard about it was in relation to the monster, not long after I moved to the Brisbane area as a boy.
    In December 1996, I was on talkback radio promoting my book, Bunyips and Bigfoots. When the compere referred to the section on the Deception Bay monster, a Mr Mick Scheirupflug phoned in to say that he also had encountered a strange animal in the bay. One thing lead to another and, that evening, I was able to interview all three witnesses independently by telephone.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

My Coworker's Sea Serpent

     By 2002, word had got around my workplace that I was interested in mystery animals, so one of my colleagues, Toni Womal approached me about an experience she had had as a little girl.
    Our interview took place on 8 August 2002, but the events in question occurred when she was about ten years old, so it was probably 1974, during the summer school holidays ie about January. The presence of a king tide may help to localise it further in time.
    At the time, she was living at Bowen, North Queensland (20° 25' S, 148° 15' E), and went to the seaside with her eight-year-old brother, Stephen and her grandfather, Les Womal, now deceased. They had gone out to a rock, known locally as Womal's Rock, about 100 metres off shore, and while Grandpa was fishing from the rock, the two children amused themselves in a rock pool. It was only about 9 o'clock in the morning, so the weather was still a bit cool, although the day was fine, and would later turn hot.There was a king tide, and the water was choppy. Suddenly, their grandfather, without uttering a word, beckoned to them to come out of the water and stand beside him. He then gestured towards a creature about 100 metres further out. The sighting probably lasted only a few seconds, but it was very vivid. They were all mortally afraid of snakes, so they stayed on the rock all day, until the tide went out, and was about to turn. Then, their grandfather announced: "Get changed; we're going home", and he carried them back to shore. He didn't mention the animal again.
    What was it like? After all these years, it was hard for her to provide more than an impression, but it was essentially a series of vertical undulations. The creature was very wide - perhaps a metre thick - but certainly, its body was bigger than that of their grandfather, who was "a big Island man" (Toni is of Kanaka descent). It was glistening, shiny black,  and rolling like a python. The head was not visible, and it just disappeared. She was unable to be precise about the number of undulations.
     So what was it? Sceptics will have legitimate reservations, considering the brevity of the sighting, the youth of the witness, and the lapse of years. Against this, however, one must put the extreme fear reaction of the mature man accompanying them. No matter how much we pare it with Occam's razor, we are still left with something very big, elongated, and undulating. No fish sticks out as meeting that description. Sea snakes are much, much smaller. And, if her memory is correct that the undulations were vertical, this could only refer to a mammal. Readers will also no doubt be aware that reports of similar elongated, vertically undulating "sea serpents" have been received from all corners of the oceans.