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A Real Florida Sea Monster

Updated on June 3, 2010

My family and I love going on Florida vacations. Several of us are avid anglers, so we spend a lot of time on the beaches and piers, trying to lure some flounder, trout, shark, or other finned opponent onto our hooks. We’ve caught some strange critters over the years, but nothing we’ve ever landed could compare with the real sea monster we saw several years ago.

My husband, Johnny, and I were spending a few days at Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island. We almost always stay at the Amelia-By-the-Sea oceanfront condos, largely because of their private fishing pier. On this particular fishing trip, we hadn’t had much luck on the pier after a couple of days, and we were getting pretty antsy. When someone told us the specks (spotted seatrout) were biting behind the fort, we decided to drive the mile or so to check it out.

The “fort” referred to is Fort Clinch, as in Ft. Clinch State Park. We had camped and fished there many times in the past, so we were familiar with the area. On one side of the park is the Atlantic Ocean, on another is the Cumberland Sound, and on another is the Amelia River – all bodies of salt water.

We parked at the river and decided to fish there for a little while as we waited for high tide. When the tide rose, we walked to the fort with our fishing paraphernalia. It was a trek that took us across high dunes, giving us a great view of the river. As we trudged through the sandy footing, I was looking at the river when I saw something that has never been explained.

There was a large patch of kelp or some other vegetation floating on the water, and writhing through it was some large snake-like creature. I alerted Johnny, and he saw it, too. We made our way down to the beach in the hopes of getting a closer look.

The strip of sand was fairly crowded that day, and everyone there was watching this “sea monster.” Johnny ran to the jeep to get his binoculars, which gave us a much better view of the strange creature.

This thing was huge! It must have been 18-24-inches thick. Its skin was dark brown or black, with lighter bars or stripes. We never did see its head – all we saw were it coils as it slithered through the seaweed.

An old timer standing near us said he lived on the island, and he explained that whenever they dredged the AmeliaRiver, they often got unusual creatures there from other areas. From other areas? Like from where – the Amazon or Jurassic Park? All I could think of were anacondas, but I was pretty sure that even they didn’t get this big. Judging by this creature’s coils and girth, it had to be close to 75 feet in length.

Before long, a park ranger showed up. He had heard about the excitement and wanted to check it out for himself. He’d spent his whole life on Amelia Island and had been a ranger at the fort for years, but he told us he’d never seen anything like this before. We all watched in amazement for probably fifteen minutes before the sea monster disappeared. Everyone stood around for a while, waiting for the sea serpent to reappear, but it never did.

Of course, as soon as I got home, I began researching anacondas, snakes, and herpetology and cryptozoology sites. I learned that the largest anaconda on record is 28 feet. Whatever we saw was much longer. Some cryptozoologist reports include sightings made by reputable individuals who described specimens they’d seen at much longer lengths – some over 75 feet long.

Was our sea monster a giant anaconda? I don’t think so. How could an anaconda make its way from the Amazon to Florida? And anacondas have spots – not stripes. But what other explanation is there? I’m just glad that Johnny and I weren’t the only ones who saw the sea monster! There were at least 50 people who shared our unusual experience that day. Too bad we didn't have a herpetology expert with us at the time - if, indeed, our sea serpent was an actual snake.


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