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Garry Liimatta’s “Sea Monster” Eyewitness Sketch

Posted by: Scott Mardis on March 18th, 2014

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Recently on Cryptomundo, attention was brought to the alleged “sea monster” 8mm film taken by the late Garry Liimatta (1944-2012) in May 1969 off of Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada.

See: Garry Liimatta Open Sea Footage of Cadborosaurus?

Whatever it was, it appears to have been relatively large. Liimatta described a large turtle-like animal with an 8 foot long neck. Little known is that he also made an eyewitness sketch. Here is the original account as it appeared in the BCSCC Newsletter, July 1992.

British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club Newsletter
No. 11, July 1992, pg. 7-8

Giant shell-less turtle seen off Vancouver Island

by Paul LeBlond

On a fine morning of May 1969, fisherman Garry Liimatta was heading out of Kyuquot Channel (see accompanying map) towards offshore fishing grounds. Weather conditions were excellent: good visibility and a light sea. His boat was less than half a mile offshore when he saw on the port (left) side an animal which played around in circles for a few minutes, rolling, exposing side flippers and part of its head, after which it left northwards at a terrific speed. The animal came within 50 ft or less of the boat, and Liimata and crewmate Earl Stoesinger had a good look.

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What they saw was not one of the many marine animals with which they were already familiar. Liimata described it as blotchy, white and grey in colour, about 38 ft in length and 6 ft in breadth. It had back fins, two side flippers and an 8 ft neck. He could see eyes, nostrils and a mouth on the head, which looked exactly like that of a turtle. To sum it all, Liimata wrote: “I think I saw an oversized turtle without a shell”. His sketch, shown hereby, clearly confirms this impression.

Yet another “fleetingly glimpsed sea-monster” story, you might think. However, this one is different. Garry had an 8mm movie camera on board which he immediately grabbed and aimed at the strange creature. The film remained hidden in the family collection for years until, out of the blue, on Oct. 4, 1991, Garry left a tantalizing message at my office, About a “film that he took many years ago of a sea monster sighting”. I called back immediately, and discovered that he had seen me on some TV show, where he had found out about my interest in such things. He was quite willing to talk about his sighting and to send me the film! “Don’t expect too much”, said Garry, “it’s rather under-exposed, and the kids played it many times so that parts of it burned away.” Still, I could barely wait to see it!

The film segment was very dark: you can’t see anything at all by just holding it up to the light. Nevertheless, I managed to got a video copy of it made that shows something interesting. Those of you who watched the “Sightings” show reviewed by John Kirk in this same Newsletter have seen part of it. The film is clearly shot from a moving boat; one can see another fishing boat bobbing up and down about 200 ft away, with the shoreline in the background. A pale shadow flits underwater nearby, then breaks the surface about 50 ft away, exposing a long flipper. There is clearly something there, but one can’t identify it. An analysis of the original film under a high-power microscope might perhaps reveal more.

What did Garry Liimata see? Did he mistake a sea lion or an elephant seal for a “shell-less sea-turtle”? He was certainly close enough and experienced enough to tell the difference. Is this another glimpse of Caddy, usually described as “horse-headed”, but possibly looking more turtle-like at a quick glance. It is so easy to recognize what we know, yet so difficult to describe what we don’t!

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Obviously, from the location, Liimatta’s “monster” has been linked to the Cadborosaurus. Some have suggested it might have been a large leatherback turtle or elephant seal.

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Some also think it might have resembled some of the moderately long neck plesiosaurs such as Tatanectes or Umoonasaurus.

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A special thanks to Gary Mangiacopra, John Kirk, DD and Jay Cooney for assistance on this post.

Scott Mardis About Scott Mardis
Scott Mardis has been an active field investigator of the Lake Champlain “Monster” since 1992. He is a former sustaining member of the defunct International Society of Cryptozoology and a former volunteer worker in the Vertebrate Paleontology Dept. of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences (1990-1992). He co-authored a scientific abstract about the Lake Champlain hydrophone sounds for the Acoustical Society of America in 2010. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida.


3 Responses to “Garry Liimatta’s “Sea Monster” Eyewitness Sketch”

  1. Champ Voucher responds:

    Could just be that he DID see an unknown turtle of some sort. If it were a softshell or leatherback type turtle then he might not have even noticed the shell at all – especially if the shell were the same color as the skin and it was late at night. Everyone knows a turtle when they see one. What’s the third animal that you’re taught to recognize in kindergarten ? Dog, Cat and Turtle !

  2. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    His drawn creature doesn’t seem to have an eight-foot neck. Why the discrepancy?

  3. Scott Mardis responds:

    I honestly don’t know. Perhaps he was simply a poor artist. And, yes, it is possible it could have been some strange turtle.



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