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Saguenay series, part 6: Underwater mysteries that still remain

I caught up with a girlfriend the other day and as we were having coffee and agreeing that it had been too long since we’d chatted, she exclaimed: “I haven’t even heard about your Saguenay trip yet!”  I responded, “Oh, well, you have to keep up with my blog if you want to know my life. I don’t actually speak to people in real-life anymore.” To this, she did not even react to my silly tone, and said, “But I have been reading your blog!”

So, I guess it’s true. I’ve told you snippets here and there, but not that much about the actual trip. But today, I’ll share a piece of the adventure. It was a visit to the Musée du Fjord, located right in the Ville de Saguenay over La Baie des Ha! Ha! (Now, I’m not really sure if the name of this bay actually takes exclaimation marks because I’ve checked a bunch of different sources and there’s no consistency. But I think you’ll agree that it is much more amusing with the exclamation marks!) This Bay is very pretty, as this picture attests, and the floor to ceiling windows of the museum take full advantage of the view.

Um, wait a sec, I think I’ve lied to you …. I just realized that I don’t really want to tell you about the actual visit to the museum, but rather some of the thoughts that it brought to mind. You see, there was a temporary exhibit called “Fantastic Sea Monsters” that I found really fascinating. The goal of the exhibit was to share the history of some of Canada’s most spectacular and enigmatic legends. And indeed, it did.

For instance, for more than 2,000 years, fishermen had told legends of enormous octopus or squid tentacles reaching out of the depths to seize ships. Now, unless it was a really pint-size boat, I’m sure that tentacles did not even come close to seizing a ship. But can you imagine being a fisherman back in the day … before the sea had been really discovered by scientists, and looking into that deep dark water and not knowing what lay beneath?

Just consider that the giant squid (it does actually exist) has the largest eyes in the animal kingdom — and that those eyes appeared on the water’s surface and were staring at you! Ack! We’re talking an eyeball that measures as big as a basketball! I can’t even imagine the fear that those seamen would have felt and, in turn, shared in their tales back on dry land.

These tales often appeared in literature, which certainly did nothing to dispell the myth of these creatures. In Moby Dick, published in 1851, Herman Melville wrote of a “vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length…long arms radiating from its center and curling and twisting like a nest of anacondas.” 

The Kraken.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Yes, it would certainly be terrifying, I’m sure. But am I wrong in also thinking that there is something wonderful about a mystery? It feels like we’ve missed something special — uncharted waters, unknown lands — when mysteries still remained. Now we’ve mined the depths of the ocean, outer space and even the most inner of spaces — molecules, cells and whatnot.

But get this? I learned from this exhibit that there actually are some underwater mysteries that still remain.

Cadborosaurus is the name of a creature said to be an enormous sea serpant from the dinosaur era that still exists today off of the coast of British Columbia. Nicknamed “Caddy,” there have been regular, numerous sightings over the years — as far back as 1734. It is said to be about 15 meters in length, with a snake-like body and a head that resembles a camel.

One of the most exciting appearances took place in 1937 when a large, strange creature was found in the stomach of a harvest whale. The men who found this unknown carcass took a number of photos and sent the specimen in to a museum. But the museum mistook the specimen for something else and disposed of it! Here is a photo of the carcass:

Now, just in case you think its believers are not just a rag-tag band of serpent worshippers, consider this: the government of British Columbia actually has a law to protect Caddy.

It just goes to show that there are some mysteries that still remain. I just find this so heartening. Don’t you?

To catch up on my Saguenay trip, here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

For details on where to stay and what to do in this area of Northern Quebec, you can visit Road Trips for Families where I’ve written my recommendations for a winter road trip as well as Kids in the Capital, where I’ve shared my new found love for glamping.

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Comments

  1. Getting shivers reading this. There is something about the ocean that fascinates: it is so vast, and what lies beneath so mysterious.

    Also giggled at your opening. I too blog about things instead of talking about them sometimes. But I feel I’ve told people so I am surprised when they don’t know:)

    Visiting your blog as part of my NaBloPoMom commitment to meet new bloggers. Glad I stopped by.

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