Sea Serpents

Skeptics of Lake Monsters complain that even the large, deep lakes are not big enough to hide a breeding population of large, unknown creatures. This cannot be said for the open ocean. Almost three quarters of the Earth is covered by the seas. Ninety seven percent of these waters are more than 600 feet deep and the deepest trenches are 33,000 feet deep. Deep enough to easily hide Mount Everest.

Even this deepest section of the ocean holds life and we can safely assume creatures are capable of living at every level in between. Are there animals living at great depths that we know little or nothing about?

Sailors of every age have been renown for telling tales of their adventures. One of their favorite subjects was Sea Serpents. Are stories of monsters reaching out from the deep to drag ships and their crews to the bottom just tall tales meant to scare a novice sea-hand, or history?

Historical view
Gigantic seafaring reptiles with cylindrical bodies, about 70 metres long and 7 metres in curcumference, clad with glistening scales which are sea-green on the upper surface of the body and white underneath, and having a flattened snakelike head, with large horny eye sockets and a membraneous 'mane'.

Widely seen throughout the world, especially off the coasts of Scandinavia, Denmark, the British Isles and North America, but also in the South Atlantic and Pacific. Whalers often observe sea serpents locked in combat with sperm whales. The water foams with blood as the whale's great jaws crunch fragments out of the serpent's body, but the monster always wins by wrapping its coils around the whale and dragging it down into the depths.

In sailing ship days, sea serptens often attacked ships in search of prey. Sometimes the monster washed men off the decks and into the sea by surfacing alongside and spouting a hose-like jet of water. More often, it simply snatched them with its huge jaws. On rare occassions it totally destroyed small ships by wrapping its coils around them.

The only certain defence against sea serpents is the gum resin known as asafoetida, obtained from the plant Ferula foetida which grows in Persia and Afghanistan. This reddish-brown resin, with its acrid taste and strong onion-like odour, should be ground into powder and scattered on the water around a boat or a ship. Sea serpents abhor asafoetida so violently that the merest suspicion of the substace keeps them away.

Sea serpent sightings are so well documented that one may ignore suggestions that the monsters are no more than schools of dolphins, giant squids, or other commonplace maritime occurrences.