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San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 650, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

14 September 2017


Courtesy of Wikipedia.
"A monster of the sea turned up in Dolphin Bay [Orcas Island, WA.] last week and convinced a number of people that they didn't particularly want to go swimming just now, anyway.
      John Sorenson spotted the creature under his dock in about a foot of water. When he saw it crunch a large clam––shell and all, you understand––in one or two bites, he didn't waste any time getting his 30.30. After it had been thoroughly shot, three times through the head, he gaffed it and brought it ashore.
      The ferocity and viciousness with which it fought must be experienced to be realized, Mr. Sorenson says, but to give you some idea, two hours after it had been shot, it severed a stout piece of wood neatly in two with one vise-like snap of its jaws.
      When the fish finally gave up the ghost and could be measured, it proved to be 5-ft 1 inch in length and weighed about 40 pounds. But the statistics don't give an accurate picture of its powerful and horrible appearance.
      The skin was a dark gray, mottled with black spots not unlike those of a hair seal. The head was massive and the jaw well studded with great, strong teeth, as it so amply demonstrated. The tail, Mr. Sorenson says, was its secondary weapon and with it his catch lashed madly and violently. One good swipe of it would have sent a hefty man spinning.
      The Sorensons brought their trophy to Orcas to display it and, if possible, identify it. Mr. Sorenson's suspicion that it was a wolf-eel was confirmed by Bill Lindholm. Mr. Lindholm says that wolf eels as much as eight feet in length were commonly caught in the waters off the coast of Finland, his native country.
      The only other wolf-eel so far heard from, caught in these waters, is one which Bill Lindholm got off Broken Point, Shaw Island, a few years ago. On this somewhat embarrassing occasion, Mr. Lindholm had the misfortune to hook the eel and bring it into his boat before he realized what was on the other end of the line.
      This one attacked as ferociously as the Dolphin Bay product, which would be even less fun in a small boat than on dry land. Mr. Lindholm, however, managed to "cut off his neck," as he says, with a butcher knife he, fortunately, had with him. This one, he thinks, was smaller than Mr. Sorenson's.
      The encyclopedia is a little less understandable on the subject of the wolf eel, being too full of knowledge. However, the latin name is anarrhicthys, and according to Mr. Britannica, has strong, conical canines in front and large molars at the side, which ain't no lie. It has no pelvic fins and is a "large fish of northern seas."
      The carcass was on display at Orcas for a couple of days, but owing to natural circumstances had to be cast back into the sea from which it came. Mr. Sorenson did get some remarkably fine photos of the eel in all its huge and hideous strength, so the island is not without some memento of its caller from the deep."
Written by Margaret Exton for the Orcas Islander. 6 June 1946.
Here is a link to some Wolf eel notes on Wikipedia

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