(Mark Price/Charlotte Observer) - Professional shark spotter Wayne Davis said he has seen a lot of strange things off Cape Cod, but even he was taken aback after photographing a strange shape that looks remarkably like a sea serpent.
A really big sea serpent — about 300 yards long, he said.
Davis posted his photo Aug. 4, and rather dryly added that he “found a sea serpent today.”
Almost immediately, social media users began debating what the shape might be, with one one commenter bringing up its likeness to the Loch Ness Monster, the world’s most legendary sea serpent.
Many appeared to be grasping for a sensible explanation, while admitting that the shape was undeniably like a sea monster.
“Is it just various marine life rolled out by current and wave action along the shoreline?” asked Mary Gabriel.
“Oil slick or seaweed shadow?” posted Elizabeth Gilman.
Davis, a fisherman-turned-aerial photographer, told McClatchy news group he captured the image with his phone over the Atlantic Ocean, near Cape Cod’s Nauset Beach Dunes.
He was out shark spotting at the time for the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a nonprofit that tags white sharks for study.
However, Davis said his suggestion of a sea serpent was tongue-in-cheek.
Yes, the photo is 100 percent real, he said, but it’s likely not a monster.
“It looks to me like a Chinese dragon, but it’s an elongated school of pogies or menhaden,” Davis said before adding: ”or a sea serpent, as it had quite a long tail.”
Davis said he has enjoyed the online debate, which includes a guy who posted: “The newest non-profit- The Fake Black Serpent Conservancy.”
“I have tried to laugh at the reactions on Facebook, including the ones where they say it doesn’t look like any school of fish they’ve seen before. I ask: How many schools of fish have you seen? I can show you things in the ocean that you never knew existed.”
Davis said this marks his 30th year as an aerial photographer, which he took up after leaving a career on a fishing boat. He said he still works as a deck hand in the off season.
“I don’t call it work. It’s a pleasure flying up and down the beach,” Davis said. “Cape Cod is stunningly beautiful and it changes every minute.”