Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Argentina: Joselito The Sea Serpent (2007)


 Source: Diario “Ecos Diarios” de Necochea (Arg)
Date: August 10, 2007

Argentina: Joselito The Sea Serpent (2007)

The two meter long specimen was seen in the vicinity of Bahia de los Vientos.
Fishermen witnessed something equally odd 13 years ago.

Was it a leatherback turtle (tortuga laud, Dermochelys coriacea) that was seen hours ago in the ocean facing Quequén around Bahia de los Vientos, or was it the enigmatic “Joselito”, the bizarre creature seen 13 years ago by Necochean fishermen?

Skeptics with little time for sea-monster yarns will insist that it was merely a leatherback turtle, of the kind that every so often make their way to our shores. However, there will always be doubt on the part of those who fantasize about the manifestations of a bizarre creature in our waters.

The creature received its name after it was first seen in the summer of 1994. Its presence was noted by men with many years of sea experience under their belts, such as Carlos Mino, his son Fabian, Juan Iniguez or Antonio Dato. From their fishing vessels, some 20 men reported seeing “an unknown marine entity” at close distance, giving rise to the legend of “Joselito”. The strange creature was also seen on other occasions.

The leatherback turtle, an endangered species, reappeared in Malaysian waters in 2003 when 14 specimens were reported after not being seen for a year.

A specimen of this species is kept in the Jose Squadrone Natural Sciences Museum of Necochea. The leatherback (tortuga laúd or siete quillas, in Spanish) is the most widely distributed type of turtle in the world’s oceans from subartic regions to the tropics. It is also the largest living turtle – in its adult phase, the females average 500 kgs but cases of up to 900 kgs have been reported. Body size varies as a factor of region: Pacific specimens are smaller than the Atlantic ones, which can measure 2 ½ meters long, practically the size reported from Quequén only hours ago.

However, in March 1994, some 20 men witnessed a strange creature swimming, diving and encircling their vessels [...]. In the immensity of the ocean, these fishermen were treated to the sight of “Joselito”.

Three crewmen of the “Paco Ventura” trawler were the first to dare speak publicly about the strange animal in the vicinity of Arenas Verdes, 5 or 6 miles offshore. After Carlos Mino, his son Fabian and Juan Iniguez broke their silence, the eyewitness accounts of other experienced fishermen became public, men who had run into the unknown marine creature earlier as well.

The piety of most fishermen is well-known, and since the manifestation of this creature took place on Saturday, March 19th, it was “christened” Joselito in honor of St. Joseph, whose day it is. The name went on to be enshrined in the regional and national press, even though its exact nature was never determined.

Carlos and Fabián Miño and Juan Iniguez saw it only a few meters from the craft, and agreed that it appeared to be a peaceful beast. At no time did it attempt to attack them – in fact, it could be said that it ignored them. They couldn’t see it entirely, although it appeared to be very large. It only displayed part of its back, with staggered fins like a dinosaur.

Antonio Dato, master of the “A esta si la esperaba” vessel, was in radio contact with Carlos Mino minutes after the strange animal appeared. To underscore their sighting, Dato and fisherman Fernando Bertoia remarked that as they pulled up their nets, everyone aboard saw a “black thing” some 10-12 meters from the “Paco Ventura”. Truth or fantasy, the fact remains that the story of Joselito became ingrained in everyone’s mind and there are those who believes that he remains at play in the ocean’s waters, while other insist that it was a giant leatherback turtle, fished out of the sea in May 1995 and subjected to a careful taxidermic process. It is currently exhibited in the Necochea Natural Sciences Museum.

(Translation (c) 2007 S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO)