New Loch Ness “Monster” Sonar Image: UPDATED/Questions raised

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 22nd, 2012

Questions are being raised a day after news of the new sonar image became widespread.

First off, it has been brought to my attention, as noted at the “Loch Ness Investigation” site of Dick Raynor’s, that,

“From time to time people on boats see unusual images on their fish-finder sonar screens, and if they are on Loch Ness there is always the possibility of accidental misinterpretation.”

Exampled explanations are shown here.

But perhaps truly damning, this year “Cruise Loch Ness” are running special monster hunting trips with underwater cameras on the boat skippered by…Marcus Atkinson – the man behind all the publicity of this new “discovery.”

Therefore, some locals are questioning Atkinson’s big splash in the media this week. Is it a marketing move?

Added data from Loch Ness investigator Tony Harmsworth:

“I know of six operators: Jacobite Cruises from Inverness and the Clansman Harbour; Deepscan from the Loch Ness Centre; Loch Ness Cruises from Nessieland Castle Monster Centre; Castle Cruises from the Drumnadrochit Car Park and Loch Ness Gifts (this is the one Dick Raynor skippers quite often); Cruise Loch Ness [associated with Marcus Atkinson] from The Canal at Fort Augustus & Loch Ness Express, which I think is the one that got the sonar contact in question although I understand they might be associated with Cruise Loch Ness and also works from the canal at the Fort.”


Skipper: The Loch Ness boat captain Marcus Atkinson

A new sonar picture that shows a large unidentified living object deep underwater – is it Nessie – was recorded by Loch Ness boat skipper Marcus Atkinson. It was recorded at 75 feet, and reportedly measures 5 feet wide. The image was taken in Urquhart Bay, and whatever it was was said to follow his boat for two minutes.

Beast? The sonar image appears to show a ‘serpent like’ creature towards the top, as recorded by Marcus Atkinson’s sonar fish-finder.

The Mirror News gives these other details:

The consistent marks on Marcus’ sonar create a horizontal mass, which is not an indicator of length.

Excited Loch Ness monster experts have ruled out the ‘sighting’ being any other fish, seal or wood debris and believe it is proof of an unknown creature in the Loch.

The image, that Marcus took on his mobile phone of his sonar screen, has won him first prize in the Best Nessie Sighting of The Year Award run by bookmakers William Hill.

Marcus, 43, from Fort Augustus in the Scottish Highlands, said: “I was dropping customers at Urquhart Castle and then got my boat out of the way of the other tour companies.

“I moved out into the water and looked at the sonar and saw this image had appeared.

“The device takes a reading of the depth and what is below the boat every quarter of a second and gradually builds up a picture, so it covered a time of about five minutes.

“The object got bigger and bigger and I thought ‘bloody hell’ and took a picture with my mobile phone.

“There is nothing that big in the Loch. I was in shock as it looked like a big serpent, it’s amazing.

“You can’t fake a sonar image. I have never seen anything returned like this on the fish finder.

“It is a bizarre shape to me. I have shown it to other experienced skippers and none of us know what it was.

“I have seen a lot of pictures in 21 years of being here but this is the most clearest image yet.

“Undoubtedly, there is something in the loch.”

Steve Feltham, 49, a full-time Loch Ness monster hunter said: “We know that there are no animals in the loch that are as big as the image here, the biggest thing we see are seals which are nothing compared to this.

“It’s also totally unexplained and can’t possibly be fish because in water 75ft down you just wouldn’t find them.

“It’s very exciting and the best evidence we have had in donkey’s years.

“There is usually a mundane explanation yet no one has come up with one for this.”

“There is definitely something in the loch, there have been too many pictures and eye witnesses so there must be something.”

But other marine experts claim the mystery object may well have been algae in the water.

But Dr Simon Boxall, from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, Hants, said:” “The image shows a bloom of algae and zooplankton that would exist on what would be a thermocline.”The Mirror News

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

15 Responses to “New Loch Ness “Monster” Sonar Image: UPDATED/Questions raised”

  1. mungofoot responds:

    algae following a boat? hmmm next best guess?

  2. Hapa responds:

    This is an interesting breakthrough. Though not the nail in the coffin that we need to prove that Nessie exists (only a body or living specimen or major part of a body will do. Getting something the size of a dinosaur out of the Loch…headache central there!) this is one of the most important breakthroughs in years. Hopefully the algae story is not proven correct. Seems to me more likely that this could be a super-eel, perhaps one that was unable to breed and therefore put all the energy that would have been used for sexual function into growth. Or it could e a species of eel that big normally (that’s probably more likely than the eunuch eel, just due to the thickness of this beast, but I don’t know how big eunuch eels get).

  3. David-Australia responds:

    Not a ‘serpent like’ creature necessarily – the ‘length’ is explained as a build-up (of forward movement) on the sonar screen over a period of time.

  4. rickg13 responds:

    Just when I begin to lose faith in Nessie, a story like this pops up. Though obviously nothing conclusive (the algae theory seems like a bit of a stretch to me), sonar hits like this are enough to keep a little hope alive in me.

  5. jewpunxxx responds:

    Im inclined to agree with dr boxall who as a dr of marine life has assumingly been looking at sonar readings of a biological nature for a very long time and if he thinks it to be a large algae field then i bet it is. Because A. In my opinion the alleged nessie cannot be a reptile, as a reptile it would have to surface far too often and survive winter climates. Now using common sense i cannot think of any reptile extinct or alive that would tolerate the climate of Scotland year around. Hibernation you say…glad you did, no way in hell does a plesiosaur hibernate like say turtles do during the winter months, a plesiosaur is not probable as a candidate and never has been there is no logic to a large reptile in cold climates. Even in the oceans that far north a marine reptile makes no sense. Now super eel, super fish, or even some type of undiscovered cetacean, those are the only logical suspects. And after the echolocation findings in lake champlain cetacean seems very reasonable. I wonder why noone has tried to see if they could record some echolocation at the loch seems like it would be the logical thing to do given the parallels between the sightings. But back to the article no amount of sonar is going to convince me and definitely not one from a monster tour guide.

  6. silverity responds:

    rickg13, keep the faith!

    Algae unlikely as the sonar hit was at 70+ feet where it is total darkness and algae are phytoplankton (they photosynthesize).


  7. springheeledjack responds:

    Five feet wide, but we don’t know a length. Followed the boat for two minutes then what? just disappeared? As always, I want more details and facts before I start throwing out answers. Not much to go on other than a bigger sonar hit.

    I’m not all that up on how sonar works to know whether a hit can just instantly disappear, or whether it is on the scope until it moves out of range, etc. I assume that with the sonar we’re getting a top down view of what’s under the boat?

    Still, intriguing and as rickg13 says, just when you think things have quieted down and there’s nothing going on (I know, I’m putting my own two cents into his statement), something happens. 🙂 I’m waiting to see what more comes out of it.

  8. Elq responds:

    I cannot help but wondering what would happen if finally an Cryptid like for example nesie would be proven to exist. It must be mind shattering for sceptics.

  9. wuffing responds:

    @Elq. I am a sceptic; I look both ways when crossing the road even though the green man is flashing.

    I would be very happy if some of the monster reports I have read about turn out to be true, but we have to be the harshest critics of “evidence” served up to newspapers by publicity seekers, as we are the real experts most of the time, after all we having been studying the subject for many years.

    My mind would not be shattered, in fact it would be nice to find I haven’t been wasting my time.

  10. Troodon56 responds:

    The algae hypothesis just doesn’t make any sense, to me. This sonar contact was made at approximately 75 feet deep, in the loch. People who have dived in Loch Ness describe the water as being so peat-stained, that you can hardly even see, 10 feet, in front of you! Sunlight cannot penetrate down, more than a few feet. And, as I’m pretty sure you all know, algae is a plant. And plants need sunlight, in order to be able to survive. So, in my opinion, this cannot be algae.

    However, with that being said, I am also a little bit skeptical about it being Nessie. Most descriptions of Nessie describe it as having a thick, barrel-shaped torso, while this sonar contact looks very serpentine. In my opinion, this is probably just a rather large eel. However, there still is a possibility that it could, indeed, be the real deal. As of now, I just don’t know.

    But, rickg13 was certainly right, about how, just when you begin to doubt that Nessie exists, BOOM!, a brand new sighting just suddenly appears, out of nowhere! Indeed, it is those tantalizing pieces of evidence, such as the Hugh Gray photograph, the Tim Dinsdale film, and the sounds recorded by Mackal and his team in 1970, that truly keep me interested, in Nessie.

  11. Troodon56 responds:

    By the way, today is also the 52nd anniversary of Tim Dinsdale recording his film of the Loch Ness Monster, on April 23rd, 1960! It seems rather nice that a new possible sighting has now occurred, very close to the anniversary of the Dinsdale film! 😀

  12. Genus Unknown responds:

    Monster? I see a nondescript green line.

    By the way…

    “Excited Loch Ness monster experts have ruled out the ’sighting’ being any other fish, seal or wood debris…”

    Is it really possible to be an “expert” on this sort of thing? And how did they rule those things out?

  13. bigfootsdad responds:

    “The image shows a bloom of algae…” Ha-ha…ha-ha-ha…ha-ha-ha-ha…ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

  14. Troodon56 responds:

    Actually, now that I have done some more in-depth research into how sonar works, I have changed my mind. I learned that sonar is not very good at determining the shape of an object. This sonar image is not actually the animal. This is simply a composite image, made up of different sonar frames, put together.

    Therefore, the object in the image is not necessarily long and serpentine, in shape. With that information, I am able to conclude that, yes, this is probably a genuine sighting, of a Nessie. I have ruled out the possibility that it is a very large log, since, once again, this was 75 feet down, and according to an article on Roland Watson’s Loch Ness blog, logs don’t tend to float at the depths.

    With all of this information, I have come to the conclusion that this is, indeed, a genuine sighting.

  15. Roddly responds:

    Am I the only person to actually look at the whole picture? Notice the numbers on the right hand side of the sonar screen? It appears to me that the hit was at a depth of 22-23 ft. Unless of course they use meters in the UK’s fish finders, but to rule out fish swimming, in a small group, at 75 feet also is beyond ridiculous…… As an avid fisherman using a fish finder while on my boat, small schools of even trout or bass appear from time to time, and look like a large singular object. I do believe that while an algae bloom is unlikely other questions need to be answered. Could it have been something being dragged on an anchor tether? Or a fishing or down rigger line? Also where is the floor bottom in the sonar screen? Too many questions, not enough supporting information, as usual.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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