On February 5, 1985 before going to work an event occurred which changed our lives forever. About 7:45 am we were drinking
coffee in our car which was parked along the Marina Green in San Francisco only yards from the SF Bay where we enjoyed a beautiful
panoramic view of the Golden Gate bridge on our left to Alcatraz island on our right. The day before had been beautiful with
no wind and temperatures around 70 degrees. The fifth was just as gorgeous, with a clear sky, calm water, and high tide. In
fact, we had never seen the bay so calm. Looking at the surface of the water was like looking at a mirror. Anything sticking
above the surface of the water was easily seen. As a result, we noticed a group of sea lions about 150 yards in front of us.
While watching them we saw what we thought was another sea lion come around Stone Tower point and slowly approach the group.
When it got within a few yards a long, black tubular object telescoped about ten feet straight up out of the water and then
it lunged forward almost falling on top of the sea lions.They immediately began swimming away, leaping in and out of the water
as they fled toward shore. The creature churned the water as it swam behind one of them moving so fast it was a blur, but
we were able to see it creating vertical undulations which seemed to move down the length of the animal. Suddenly, it went
underwater. Meanwhile, the sea lion came closer and closer to where we were parked. Actually, it swam straight at us. It leapt
out of the water as it attempted to escape. The creature followed close behind stirring up the water as it made a final attempt
to procure a meal. Now only 25 yards away, an arch of the animal was exposed which looked like half a truck tire. It appeared
black and slimy, yet at the same time it glistened in the early sunlight. The creature was swimming slightly below the surface
almost parallel to the shore.
|As the animal swam parallel to the shore the head
|was underwater followed by two exposed sections
The water was very clear allowing a silhouette of the creature's head and snake-like neck to be observable. A short flat snout,
eyebrow ridges and lots of neck could be seen. It must have been 30 feet of neck because we both thought a big snake had just
swam by. We were expecting to see the end of the snake but instead of getting smaller it began to get much larger! What we
watched wasn't a big snake but something even more unbelievable. There was a loud crash and with a spray of water the creature
seemed to stop dead in its tracks. The sea lion, apparently being familiar with the shoreline, had swum over a shelf of rocks
bringing the beast into shallow water, only three feet deep. Instantaneously, a long black neck popped up, twisted backwards
away from shore, then splashed as it hit the surface of the water and disappeared. We sat there trying to grasp the reality
of what was happening. For a moment we were mesmerized as the creature was practically laying at our feet! The creature twisted
clockwise like a corkscrew and exposed its midsection above water, giving us an excellent view of the underbelly, which was
creamy white with a tint of yellow. It resembled an alligator's belly with a soft leathery look but was divided into many
sections several feet wide. There was enough room to accommodate a human being inside it. The midsection had hexagonal scales
which fit next to each other rather than overlapping. The largest scales appeared at the widest part of the midsection where
the underbelly and side of the creature met, gradually reducing in size as they approached the top, front and end of the midsection.
If the smallest scale was compared to a dime the largest scales were larger than a silver dollar. The midsection was about
20 feet long, black on top, and slowly changed from a mossy green to a grassy green and ultimately to a yellow-green as it
approached the underbelly. There was a distinct line where the texture of the skin changed from the scales into the smooth,
|The animal rolled off the rocky ledge
|exposing a padded underbelly and lateral fins
While it continued twisting another section six to nine feet long arched upward three feet above the water, as if pinched
from both ends. Then the arch twisted away from us exposing a fan-like appendage that was attached to its side at the waterline.
It looked like a flag flapping in the wind. It was triangular in shape with a serrated outer edge. Mossy green ribbing ran
out from a single point attached to the side of the animal like the spokes in a wheel. A paper thin green membrane stretched
between each rib which extended farther than the membrane, creating the serrated edge. The appendage was equilateral with
each side several feet in length reminding us of a "dragon's wing" in miniature. Bob concentrated on the fin trying
to remember as much detail as possible. He counted the number of ribs but stopped when he got to six since there were too
many. All this time it hung open against the side of the animal .
|The fin unfolded like a fan
|and had many spikelike ribs creating a serrated edge!
While Bob concentrated on the fan-like appendage, Bill looked at the rest of the animal and saw two appendages, one at the
beginning and one at the end of the midsection. They looked like stabilizer fins as opposed to flippers for propulsion. The
arch slowly sank beneath the water, settling on the rocks. With the sun rising behind us, the sunlight penetrated at least
six feet through the clear water making the silhouette of the upper section of the creature's neck visible beneath the surface
of the water. It had four coils tightly folded behind the head.
|After the animal rolled off the rocky ledge
|it resettled and created 4 archs behind its head
The creature turned its head to the left and then to the right looking for the sea lion but by now it was a hundred yards
away crawling onto the shore near Stone Tower point. Bob wanted to get closer to the creature while it was sitting under the
water but when he opened the car door and began to get out Bill yelled at him to get back in the car. It was not worth the
risk of being attacked to get a few feet closer. Realizing he was right, Bob got back in. Later, we would joke about Bill
having to explain to the police that his brother was eaten by a sea serpent. The creature moved its neck with a whipping motion
and the four coils traveled backwards in a packet down the length of the neck dissipating upon reaching the midsection. Instantly,
it created another packet of four coils behind the head and again these were whipped backwards towards the midsection. This
was repeated several more times until the creature began to pull itself off the rocks and into deeper water. The front of
the animal arched through the water while at the same time the rear end slid across the rocks. It was like watching a freight
train pulling out of a station. Each section had to wait for the section in front of it to move.
|The fins acted like a stabilizer as the animal
|pulled itself off the ledge like a freight train
About this time we saw the outline of the head under the water. No details could be observed except a snake-like head with
large jowls. When it began to swim towards the middle of the bay we thought we saw a ridge line along the top of the rear
section of the animal. However, we never saw the tail. As it swam away at a leisurely pace, several arches could be seen undulating
above the surface of the water. A few seconds later it slipped beneath the surface of the water. Since we never saw the tail
end of the animal it is hard to estimate the total length but it had to be at least sixty feet and probably closer to a hundred
feet. We reported the sighting to the Coast Guard and left, but we would return to look for it in the future. Little did we
know it would come back with a big surprise for us. Fortunately, we would have a video camera to film what we saw.
The next day we went back to the location at low tide to see if we could discover what the animal crashed into. Parking
in precisely the same place as the day before, we went to the edge of the sea wall and noticed a ledge which extended twenty
yards into the bay. Many large rocks were scattered along it. A huge boulder three feet high and six feet long was on the
exact spot where the creature crashed. Bill jumped down onto the ledge and walked over to it. Meanwhile, Bob took a photograph
of him standing next to it. Using Bill as a comparision, Bob realized this animal was larger than he originally thought. Bill
looked like he could easily be swallowed by the monster.
|Bill standing on the ledge next to the boulder
|that the animal crashed into!
Bob jumped down, went over to the boulder and started inspecting it. He hoped to find a scale or other piece of the animal
that might have been scraped off when it crashed. Unfortunately, he could find nothing, so we left, now knowing what caused
the great beast to stop in its tracks. We spent the next few days writing down as much information while it was still fresh
in our minds. We wrote seperate accounts and when we finished we had them notarized.
Our second sighting occurred east of Stone Tower point on February 28, 1985 at approximately 9 am. It was in the same area
but a little further out from where the sea lions were attacked during the first sighting. Bob saw the head sticking three
feet out of the water looking toward Alcatraz island. He saw a single arch roll backwards along 15-20 feet of the neck then
disappear underwater. He showed Bill where to look and the head and another arch were still in the same location. The arch
rolled backwards again and disappeared. Then the head turned to our left and went underwater.
After the second sighting we moved to the parking lot next to the St. Francis Yacht Club because we were closer to the
point and approximately 100 yards farther into the bay where we could get an unobstructed view. We saw it again the next day,
March 1, 1985, about the same distance as the second sighting, but 50 yards to the west. This time Bob saw it for only a few
seconds. The neck was sticking straight up about 5 feet out of the water. About an hour later, 100 yards offshore, we saw
something swimming barely below the surface heading west creating a "V" shaped wake behind it. It swam several hundred
yards parallel to the shore then went underwater when a small boat approached.
At 8 am on December 22, 1986, we had our next sighting. It was a foggy, misty morning. The water was calm. Bob was looking
at a buoy 50 yards from shore and 75 yards west of where we were parked. On its right side, he saw what appeared to be two
floating telephone poles bobbing in the water. He half jokingly told Bill it was back and pointed to the buoy. When we looked,
the two logs had disappeared. In front of the buoy, about a foot above the water, we saw the head looking directly at us.
This was the first time we got a good look at it above the water. It had a flat snout with two black, oval nostrils as large
as a man's fist. It started to swim very slowly towards us. Without warning, the head and neck raised five feet out of the
water like a periscope. The head casually turned towards the shore, looked around, turned back towards the bay, and then straight
ahead at us again. All at once, we realized it WAS looking at us! It was now only 25 yards in front of the buoy and 50 yards
from us. As it continued to swim towards us Bob grabbed the camera out of the glove compartment and handed it to Bill. When
he looked back it was gone. We were trying to find where it went when it reappeared 50 yards in front of us. Bill attempted
to take a picture while Bob looked through the binoculars (7X35). He saw the silhouette of a dinosaur swim by with its long,
slender neck arching gracefully like a swan's. For a moment he felt like he was back in prehistoric times. Bill jumped out
of the car and ran down the beach road trying to get a picture of it. Bob also jumped out but it was raining so hard he went
back to the car and looked for it through the binoculars. As Bill ran down the road the creature surfaced 150 yards away and
lifted its neck several feet above the water. Just then a man came jogging by. Bill's first thought was to stop him to have
another eyewitness but realized that he should take a picture instead. He did and attempted to take another one but before
he could the creature slipped underwater. He ran further down the road until it surfaced 100 yards away. He stopped and took
the second picture. Once again he tried to take another but before he could the creature submerged. It continued swimming
east and Bill thought if he could run to the point he might get a closer shot of it. He ran 25 yards when the creature surfaced
alongside him only 50 yards away. It was closer now, only half the distance it was a few seconds earlier. As he ran, he saw
it on his left near the tip of the point in front of a small beach. He stopped and snapped the third photo as the creature
swam slowly with its head slightly above the surface of the water and a single arch undulating westward. By now Bill was three
quarters of the way down the beach road. He ran the rest of the way hoping to get another picture if it swam past the point.
At last he reached the point and walked five feet down the rocks to the water's edge. Right away he saw it where he thought
it would be. It was only 25 yards away with its head and a bit of an arch slightly above the water. He watched the creature
and it seemed to be watching him. Bill took the fourth photo before it sank underwater. While standing at the tip of the point
hoping it would resurface, he realized enough time had elapsed for it to swim up to him so he quickly climbed back to the
safety of the beach road. After waiting several minutes he saw no sign of the creature so he returned to the car and told
Bob what had happened. Bob was upset that he didn't run down the beach road with Bill because he had seen nothing through
The next morning, December 23, 1986, Bob was working in the workshop so Bill went alone to the same location to look some
more. Since it was raining he thought he was wasting his time. He had been watching about half an hour when he gazed at Alcatraz
island. Turning his head back towards the buoy, he saw a tall, black, tubelike object sticking five feet out of the water.
He thought "Is that a man standing in a boat?" Then he realized it was the head and a large neck portion of the
creature next to the left side of the buoy. Keeping an eye on it he reached for the camera but, before he could take a picture,
it lunged forward and dove underwater. That was all he saw that day.
Our next sighting occurred at 8 am on January 24, 1987. It was raining, but the water was calm. Bill was looking west
at the Golden Gate bridge when he noticed something a few hundred yards away approaching the buoy. As it got closer we saw
the head above water and several arches breaking the surface behind it. Bill grabbed the camera, got out of the car, ran towards
the buoy and started taking pictures. The creature quickly swam up to the buoy and hung out around it for a while. Bob grabbed
the binoculars, ran over by the buoy and looked for it while Bill took more pictures. We stood there watching until it slipped
under the water again. Because it was raining so hard, Bob went back to the car and got his hat while he continued to look
though the binoculars. It surfaced a little east of the buoy, submerged, then resurfaced 35 yards in front of us. An arch
of the neck could be seen as it slowly rolled 15 feet backwards while the animal slowly swam forwards giving the impression
that the arch was almost standing still in the water. After a while it sank beneath the water. Unexpectedly. two sea lions
appeared where the arch had been. One was average size and the other was a pup, brownish in color with a big red splotch on
its right rear side. The sea lions dove underwater and neither they nor the creature were seen again that day. By now, Bill
had taken a whole roll of film so we left to get it developed. Unfortunately, because it was raining so hard water had gotten
on the lens of the camera and all the photographs were ruined.
On Februay 25, 1987 our next sighting occurred. Once again it was hanging out near the same buoy. It was only for a short
time and not very far out of the water. Half an hour later Bill saw something pop up in front of us about 35 yards away. Bob
got the binoculars and saw TWO objects intertwined. One looked like a thin black water hose. It was twisted around the second
object which was an arch of the creature. Bill yelled, "Do you see anything strange?" As he was yelling, Bob saw
the first object create a vertical undulation in its body and pull itself across the arch. He said, "Yes, it looks like
something wrapped around the neck of the creature." Then everything went underwater. 15 minutes later, only 20 yards
away, a small black head stuck a foot or two straight out of the water and stared at us. After angling its head slightly,
the mouth opened and it began to growl. Actually, it was more like a growl and a hiss at the same time. While it was growling,
Bill took a picture through the car window, got out, leaned on the roof of the car and took two more pictures before it sank
straight down like a rock. Nothing else was seen that day. When we had the photos developed only the first photo that Bill
took through the car windshield showed the creature in it. A long, thin, black object could be seen in the bottom right hand
corner. Bill had overshot it in the next photo and another buoy about 150 yards away was the only object that could be seen
in the photo.In the last photo, taken just a few seconds later, Bill had overshot the creature again and the same buoy could
be seen in the photo but another object was to the left of the buoy about 20 yards closer to shore. We assumed it must be
a bird diving in the water because of the curvature so we almost threw the picture away but decided to keep it anyway. Ten
years later, when we closely examined this photo, we realized Bill had accidently taken a picture of the larger animal as
it lifted its head and neck out of the water near the buoy.
Our next sighting was on March 1, 1987, several hundred yards east of where we were parked. Around 9 am Bob spotted two
arches moving in unison on the surface of the water.
By this time we were getting tired of staking out the area and began to look for the animal less and less. After a few
years went by we stopped looking for it at all except when we found ourselves near the bay. We always planned to spend more
time looking for it but we really wanted to get a better camera before we did. Running our business took up all our time for
many years but around 2000 we decided to finally buy a video camera and begin looking for it again. Whenever we were near
the water we would make sure we had the camera but we never saw anything worth filming. Then on January 26, 2004, we had to
leave our car in the auto repair shop to have new brakes installed. We had been putting it off for months but the day before
they got so bad that we had no choice but to bring the car in and have the work done. After dropping the car off and being
told we could pick it up at 5 pm we found ourselves in the middle of the mission with nothing to do all day. To kill some
of the day we decided to walk to Fisherman's Wharf. It was about 5 miles away so it took us most of the morning to get there.
When we arrived at the Wharf it was already getting close to Noon and since we had the video camera with us Bob suggested
that we go up on a hill near muni pier that overlooked the bay and look for the creature. We still had 5 hours to kill so
we decided to spend it watching the bay. We had been on the hill for about a half an hour looking straight out at Alcatraz
and Angel island. It was now about 12:30 pm and both of us noticed that the bay was fairly calm and that there were no boats
in the area. Right after that we both noticed a black object in the water to the west of Alcatraz. We both had been looking
in that area and didn't see a boat come around Alcatraz so we were surprised to see it. As we were watching it trying to figure
out what it was two more black objects appeared to the left and behind the first object. Right away we knew they weren't boats
because we saw them pop up in the water. Then, in an instant, the whole area between Alcatraz and Angel island was covered
with so many black objects that we couldn't count them all. There appeared to be dozens of them breaking the surface and going
back underwater. We looked at each other in astonishment. Bob yelled to Bill to get the camera and film whatever he could
get but Bill had already begun to get out the camera and began filming. For the next three and a half minutes he filmed as
much as he could until the battery in the camera went dead. At that time all the animals went underwater. Then we noticed
that a Sausalito ferry was heading towards the area where the animals had just been. Bill waited until the ferry came into
the spot and turned on the video camera hoping there would be enough juice left in the battery to get a picture of it. There
was and we got a good shot of it. Later we found out that this particular ferry was 169.1 feet long and we used that dimension
to determine how large some of the animals were.