Where is the Valhalla Sea Serpent?

In 1905, Edmund Meade-Waldo and Michael Nicoll spotted a sea serpent off the coast of Brazil. What makes this encounter unique amongst sea monster sightings was that both men were trained, respected zoologists. So, what did they see?  And is it possible that the Valhalla sea serpent actually exists?

The Valhalla Sea Serpent
Illustration by Michael Nicoll (1908)
Source: Three Voyages of a Naturalist by Michael John Nicoll – Digitized by Google Books

The Valhalla Sea Serpent?

At approximately 10:00 AM on December 7, 1905, Edmund Meade-Waldo and Michael Nicoll were conducting a scientific expedition aboard the Valhalla, fourteen miles off of Brazil’s northeast coast. Both men were Fellows of the Zoological Society of London, with particular expertise in the field of birds.

I saw a large fin or frill sticking out of the water, dark seaweed-brown in color, somewhat crinkled at the edge. It was apparently about 6 feet in length, and projected from 18 inches to 2 feet from the water. – Edmund Meade-Waldo

Meade-Waldo went on to report that the creature’s head and neck rose seven or eight feet out of the water. Its head “had a very turtle-like appearance” and along with its neck, was colored dark brown on top and white towards the bottom. Nicoll added that the neck was about six feet long and wriggled as it moved. He saw a large brownish-black patch beneath the surface of the water, but was unable to distinguish its shape. The fin, he thought, looked like a large piece of ribbon seaweed. A few years later, Nicoll reported in his book, Three Voyages of a Naturalist, that “this creature was an example, I consider, of what has been so often reported, for want of a better name, as the ‘great sea serpent’.”

But was the Valhalla Sea Serpent really a Sea Serpent?

A few minutes later, the Valhalla sea serpent was gone. Interestingly enough, Nicoll was convinced that the so-called Valhalla sea serpent wasn’t a serpent at all, but a a mammal. The Valhalla incident is, along with the Daedalus sea serpent incident, one of the most credible accounts in history of a “sea serpent.” And indeed, Meade-Waldo later commented that the creature he saw “might easily be the same.”

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

To my knowledge, no one has ever called their observations into question. While the evidence is meager and incomplete, it is also difficult to refute. If these two respected zoologists were correct in their observations, its entirely possible that the world’s oceans hold at least one more mammoth creature waiting to be discovered.

What was the Bloop?

In 1997, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) detected a strange noise in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. After several repeated incidents, the sound vanished, never to be heard again. What did the bloop sound like? And what was behind the strange noise?

“Hoding stood erect and whirled his axe up against the descending muzzle”
Illustration by E.L. Blumenschein for “Thyra: A Romance of the Polar Pit” by Robert Ames Bennet (1901)
Source: Project Gutenberg Australia

What was the Bloop?

The Bloop was a powerful, ultra-low frequency underwater sound. During the summer of 1997, it was detected several times by a hydrophone array in the Pacific Ocean, southwest of South America. After that summer, the sound never returned.

“[The Bloop] rises rapidly in frequency over about one minute and was of sufficient amplitude to be heard on multiple sensors, at a range of over 5,000 km.” ~ NOAA

Speculation about the Bloop’s origin continues to this day. Dr. Christopher Fox, who named the Bloop, doesn’t believe that it originated from humans or a geological event. In fact, he thinks it came from an animal due to the fact that “its signature is a rapid variation on frequency similar to that of sounds known to be made by marine beasts.” There’s just one problem with his theory. The Bloop was far louder than noises caused by any other ocean-based creature, including whales. So, whatever caused the Bloop is either bigger than a whale or far more efficient at generating sound.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Is it possible that the Bloop was some sort of sea serpent, similar to the one reported by the 1840 voyage of the HMS Daedalus? It seems possible but until the Bloop decides to resurface again, the best we can do is speculate.

Do Sea Serpents Exist?

In August 1848, several crew members aboard the HMS Daedalus spotted a gigantic sea serpent measuring over sixty feet long in the North Atlantic. Were they correct? Did the Daedalus Sea Serpent actually exist?

Artist’s Impression of the HMS Daedalus Sea Serpent (1848)
Source: Wikipedia

The Daedalus Sea Serpent?

According to paleontologist Dr. Darren Naish, the answer is a qualified “maybe.” On July 12, the Zoological Society of London held an event called, “Cryptozoology: Science of Pseudoscience.” This represents the most recent attempt to provide a scientific basis for cryptozoology, the study of unproven animals.

The huge number of ‘sea monster’ sightings now on record can’t all be explained away as mistakes, sightings of known animals or hoaxes. At least some of the better ones – some of them made by trained naturalists and such – probably are descriptions of encounters with real, unknown animals. – Dr Darren Naish, University of Portsmouth

According to Dr. Naish, the Daedalus Sea Serpent is one of those not-so-easily explained monsters. It was spotted by Captain McQuhae as well as several of his officers somewhere between the Cape of Good Hope and St. Helena. They described it as exhibiting a four foot head and a body that measured over sixty feet long. It moved quickly, with little vertical or horizontal wavering and remained visible for about twenty minutes.

It passed rapidly, but so close under our lee quarter that had it been a man of my acquaintance I should have easily recognized his features with the naked eye…The diameter of the serpent was about fifteen or sixteen inches behind the head, which was, without any doubt, that of a snake; and it was never, during the twenty minutes that it continued in sight of our glasses, once below the surface of the water; its colour, a dark brown with yellowish white about the throat. It had no fins, but something like the mane of a horse, or rather a bunch of sea-weed, washed about its back. It was seen by the quarter-master, the boatswain’s mate, and the man at the wheel, in addition to myself and officers above mentioned. – Captain McQuhae

After it was reported, the accuracy of the sighting was questioned in The Times, a daily national newspaper based out of Great Britain. Biologists suggested that it might be an elephant seal or perhaps, an upside down canoe.  But Captain McQuhae and his men never wavered in their opinion that they’d seen a sea serpent.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

So, did the mighty Daedalus Sea Serpent exist? For that matter, do any sea serpents exist? It seems possible. After all, the ocean is a gigantic place and most of it remains unexplored. In addition, over the last twenty years, eight large marine species have been discovered, including a benthic ray in 1995 that measured over ten feet long.

I hardly ever trust eyewitness accounts of unknown monsters. However, due to their many years of experience and respected judgments, I find the testimonies of Captain McQuhae and his officers difficult to ignore. Until someone finds actual, living sea serpents, we can’t prove their existence. But in my opinion, accounts like the one from the Daedalus give us a reason to keep looking.