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?
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.