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Friday, 28 February 2014

Garry Liimatta sighting off Vancouver Island, 1969

Scott Mardis sent me the details on this sighting and I reproduce his documents below: 

My opinion is that Liimata saw an elephant seal but esrtimated its size as too large, perhaps twice as large as it really was. This is a common mistake in sightings of unknown animals and especially at sea where size and distance can be difficult to judge. The head and hind flippers of the creature, and especially its slim and seal-like body, remind me of other osightings which turned out to be elephant seals on other occasions. Certainly this possibilitity is much better than the possibility the witness saw a much smaller leatherback turtle and made more of an exaggeration of the size, especially since the body was not turtle like in shape but more seal-shaped instead and the overhanging snout of an elephant seal has been interpreted as being like a hooked turtle's beak on other occasions: one of Heuvelmans' "Father of All the Turtles" sightings in Southern waters was very likely an elephant seal. Halving the dimensions gives the creature a four foot neck and a breadth of a yard, both of which are very reasonable estimates for an elephant seal.


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