Old Man of Monterey

Sea Monster of the California coast. Variant name: Bobo.

Physical description: Length, 30-70 feet. Black, tan, or gray in color. Head is variously described as that of a man, a monkey, a giraffe, a bull, a crocodile, an elephant, a horse, a snake, or a duck. Fins or flippers. Fishlike tail.

Distribution: Monterey Bay and Carmel Bay, California.

Significant sightings: in the early 1930s, a teenager watched a creature with a giraffelike head on a 12-foot neck swimming behind the breakwater of Monterey Bay.

In 1938, the crew of the purse seiner Dante Alighieri saw a black animal with a huge, white head over the deepest part of Monterey Bay. It was 30 feet long and had a fishlike tail, a face like an old man's, huge eyes, and a mouth like a crescent moon.

In the fall of 1939, the crew of the albacore boat Santa Anna got within a few feet of an animal that at first looked like a log, 9 miles southwest of the Point PiƱos lighthouse. They poked it with a gaff and realized it was more like a seal but fifty times the size of a sea elephant, with seal-like fins on either side of its body.

Sources: Jim Martin, "Sea Monsters," Saturday Evening Post, April 12, 1947, p. 4; Randall A. Reinstedt, Mysterious Sea Monsters ofCalifornia's Central Coast (Carmel, Calif.: Ghost Town Publications, 1993).

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