An 1897 drawing of Caddy sketched by witnesses Osmond Fergusson and D. Mattison. (FPL)
The waters off the Pacific Northwest coast of North America are said to be the home of a specific form of Sea Serpent, dubbed Cadborosaurus by Victoria, British Columbia, newspaper editor Archie Willis in the early 1930s. The large snake-like creature, now known more popularly as Caddy, has been seen from Alaska to Oregon, with most of the reported sightings occurring in the inland waters around Vancouver Island and the northern Olympic Peninsula, especially in Cadboro Bay, near British Columbia’s capital city of Victoria. Sighted many times over the centuries, Caddy also figures in Aboriginal legend. In addition, some suggestive petroglyphs from Aboriginal sources seem to depict the animal. After years of study, Vancouver biologist Edward L. Bousfield and Paul H. LeBlond, a professor of oceanography at the University of British Columbia, put together a composite description of the creature based on numerous sightings. They found Caddy is basically fifteen to forty-five feet in length, serpentine, with flexibility in the vertical plane, having a horse-like or camel-like head, a long neck, vertical humps or loops in the body, a pair of side flippers, spikes on a fluke-like tail, and an ability to swim at speeds of forty knots.
What is Caddy? Theories range from a descendant of the Jurassic giant sea reptiles to a type of the prehistoric, now supposedly extinct, ancient serpentine-shaped whale, the zeuglodon, to tourists drinking too much. The Pacific Northwest borders one of the deepest undersea trenches in the world, and the region has a rugged coastline, with infrequently visited inlets and bays.
Bousfield speculates that Caddy can breathe underwater like a turtle. Perhaps, he suspects, the females come to the shores of shallow estuaries to bear live young. More than three hundred sightings are known. There is also an apparently authentic report of a capture (and release) of an immature specimen.
No evidence for Caddy, however, is as compelling as the so-called Naden Harbor carcass, named thusly after the location in British Columbia where it was examined. Photographs survive of a unique specimen that was pulled from the stomach of a whale in 1937. Records at the time tell of the “creature of reptilian appearance” being ten and a half feet long with a head like that of “a large dog with features of a horse and the turn-down nose of a camel.” In 1937, the matter of the Naden Harbor “sea serpent carcass” was quickly quieted when a museum said it was nothing more than material from a premature baleen whale. Later scientists would question this suggestion, but by then the carcass had been thrown out. During the 1990s, Bousfield and LeBlond would point to this apparently misidentified sample from the stomach of a sperm whale as physical proof of Caddy’s existence. From their analysis of this evidence, Bousfield and LeBlond have classified the specimen as Cadborosaurus willsi. But since the discovery of the Naden Harbor carcass, no one has brought a dead Caddy in for further scientific examination. Nevertheless, sightings of Caddy do continue to occur almost every summer. One of the most recent took place on July 17,1998, when Hugh and Sally Campbell saw a sea monster in Saanich Inlet.
“I’m a believer now,” Campbell told the Victoria, British Columbia, Times Colonist. He was boating with his wife and daughters as Cadborosaurus rose from the calm waters at 5:30 P.M. “My wife saw the water moving and then saw this thing round and black. It was quite fat, more than a foot across. It has stepped fins on its back.” The Campbells were about halfway between the cement plant and Senanus Island, en route to spread their dead son’s ashes.
The monster quickly disappeared, but five minutes later his daughter pointed to “two heads.” When Campbell looked, he saw two dark objects like coils and then they disappeared. Farther up the inlet the witnesses heard a commotion on shore and a swooshing sound.
“My wife is 100 percent sure of what she saw,” he said. “We have all seen other sea life and it was none of that. It wasn’t a seal or otter.”
Bousfield links Caddy to Ogopogo, the frequently encountered cryptid of Lake Okanagan, British Columbia. Both animals are supposed to have a serpentine body with humps or coils, horse-like head, flippers, and split tail—indications that they are related, in Bousfield’s view. The animal “has also been seen in nine different British Columbia lakes. The connection with Ogopogo is that where you find these sightings, you find sea-run salmon. If there are not as many sightings now, it could be that it is going into a low-ebb [population density] cycle the same as the salmon are.
“It’s real, but it’s extremely rare and difficult to study,” says Bousfield. “The problem is all our information is from amateurs. We need the scientists to get involved.”
The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark