The Reporter newspaper of February 25, 1972 carried the story of the sighting of the Blue Hole monster. The story carried a drawing of the sea serpent.
The Legend of the Blue Hole Monster
By Wendy Auxillou
“It was HUGE!” Cap’n Ray declared.
“The monster arched … and dove … at an incredible speed,” Chris Biagi said.
“The water became turbulent”, noted George Strauss.
“The creature had a snake-like head with large red eyes that looked like flashlights” recalled Marisol of her strange encounter with what must be the longest sea creature alive.
Four people, three Americans and one Venezuelan, a woman, were out diving by the Blue Hole for fun. All four of them saw an unusual sea creature which, for size and elusiveness can compare with the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland.
Scientifically, if other independent documentation can be obtained, the Blue Hole Monster could become one of the great biological discoveries of marine life.”
The descriptions which follow are taken from the affidavits of the eye-witnesses themselves. The charts and diagrams are from Cap'n Ray's pen.
The Creature is an artist's impression of what the Blue Hole Monster must took like.
Chris Biagi of 26 Hayward Avenue, San Mateo. California, states: "While following the bubbles of two scuba diving companions I was making a free dive to approximately forty feet to see if I could make visible contact with the divers. Suddenly from underneath the shelf which concealed the divers, the large snake-like creature appeared.
"From a distance of about 30 feet I could notice on the back of the cylindrical object a long row of spiny fins, which rippled with snake-like movements propelling the beast through the water.
"In a matter of seconds the entire 100 feet length of the monster arched below me and then dove into the depth of the Blue Hole at an incredible speed, and as the last flick of the tail passed underneath, I could feel a strong current forcing me upward.
Geoff Strauss of 8420 Indian Hill Road, Cincinnati Ohio, states:
“On February 11, 1972 at about 9 a.m. in the morning I was out snorkeling at the Blue Hole with Cap'n Ray, a guide and charter boat Captain of Caye Caulker, British Honduras, in the center of Lighthouse Reef Atoll. and Marisol Escober of Venezuela and Chris Biagi of California.
"Marisol and Cap'n Ray were scuba doing and Chris was snorkeling.
"All of a sudden a blue snakelike tall passed be-low me about 100 feet below. I was on the surface and I only saw the tail end of the creature. To me it looked like the end of a flashing blue roller coaster that looped up and then dove out of sight into the black depth of the Blue Hole.
"The part I saw was about three feet wide, I estimate, and tapered to a point. A few moments after it passed out of sight and the water became turbulent.
Marisol Escober, a Venezuelan woman of 20 East 9th St., New York, NY, States:
"I was scuba diving at the Blue Hole and when I was about 130 feet down, while looking down on Cap'n Ray, I saw a snake-like creature. The creature was curved around a giant thirty-foot long stalactite and then swam out from under the shelf the stalagtite was hanging from and then swam up to me. The creature had a snake-like head with large red eyes that looked like flashlights.
"It was a bright, almost iridescent blue, bluish green fins on the top. I was so scared that I grabbed the side of the wall of the hole and started climbing up the rocks until Captain Ray pulled me off. I did not stop to decompress; rather I shot straight to the surface. Afterwards, when I was back, I thought in a terrifying way it was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen."
Cap'n Ray Auxillou, veteran scuba diver, leader of the scuba team and a man not given to underwater illusions, testified in his affidavit:
"I was down at 165 feet at the base of a huge thirty-foot stalactite on a sloping cave roof on the northwest side of the Blue Hole of Lighthouse Reef Atoll and was feeling good from a little nitrogen narcosis, and planned to go down another 60 feet. I looked around and up to check on my buddy skin diver, Marisol, who was 30 to 40 feet above me. I was startled to see a huge serpentine like eel going straight towards her.
"It was huge. It veered off as she showed fright and grabbed frantically at a piece of coral outcropping on the sheer wall over the abyss. It (the eel) came up and out towards the center of the hole and disappeared into the blackness.
"At that moment i followed its snake-like skin coming body backwards and found its tail still coming out from the darkness behind the stalactites. It was a brilliant flourescent blue in colour and had a deeper blue on top. Along its back was a fin the full length of its body similar to one on an iguana. From the time I saw its head veer off and disappear into the darkness some forty feet awaf from Marisol, to the time the tail writhed past me, 30 feet below her, I would estimate its length at 125 feet. Its width at the widest was at least two times Marisol's body size from my lower viewpoint.
"She (Marisol) was so terrified I had to ascend and pull her off the sheer coral wall, which she was frantically climbing, using hands and feet with her fins, showering rocks and sand below, forgetting she could swim upwards. "I calmed her with some gestures and signals and we ascended to forty feet on the upper shelf and started decompression, the scariest ten minutes of waiting in my life."
ARTIST'S SKETCH OF SERPENTINE MONSTER. ITS WIDTH WAS THAT OF TWO MEN: AND IT WAS 125 FEET LONG WITH SNAKE-LIKE HEAD FROM WHICH PROTRUDED TWO FLASHLIGHT-LIKE EYES. SPINY FINS ALONG THE LENGTH OF ITS BODY PROPELLED IT FORWARD AT AN INCREDIBLE SPEED.
-- Reporter newspaper, Feb 25, 1972
In February of 1972, a group of intrepid explorers led by my father, Cap’n Ray Auxillou, set out to scuba dive the Blue Hole. Back in 1972, no one knew where Belize was, much less Caye Caulker. Caye Caulker was a remote backwater accessible only by deathly slow sailboat, so much so that it took forever and a day to get there from anywhere. The 21-mile journey from Belize City to the island might as well have been a trip to outer space. As you can imagine, visitors to the island were few and far between. Tourism was not even close to being a “thing”.
Despite the many challenges, my father managed to carve out a niche for himself as a tourism pioneer and expert, not just about Caye Caulker, but also about the outer atolls which he used to frequent. Global institutions like the Smithsonian Institute and even National Geographic turned to him for information and advice on the state and health of our reef. I remember vividly the many evenings he spent on the HAM radio passing information onward.
My father was a very interesting fellow, one of a kind. He was a one-man Belize Tourism Board, waayyyyyyyy ahead of his time and certainly a lot more visionary. He was born in a sleepy town in England during the Second World War. A textbook renegade, he somehow found himself in Austria, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Belize, and then Caye Caulker, where he met and married my mom. As a new husband and father, he attempted to plant roots. Somehow, he came to own a small 10-room hotel he named the Hideaway Lodge, and with the island’s rich boatbuilding expertise to draw from, built himself a 42’ diesel-engine powered boat he called the Atoll Queen. And a true queen of the Belizean atolls that beauty was!
Long before it became fashionable, my father would take divers to Lighthouse Reef and the Blue Hole on the Atoll Queen. He was one of the first scuba divers in Belize, and a pioneer of the scuba diving industry in this country. Marine biology students from the University of Corpus Christi, among others, would descend on the Hideaway Lodge multiple times a year, ready and eager to set sail for weeks of adventure and exploration on the Belizean seas. This was their opportunity to bring to life everything they had learned in textbooks the year prior. The Atoll Queen was perhaps one of the first liveaboards to operate commercially in this country.
The sail and diesel-engine powered Atoll Queen was quite slow herself, but she contained sleeping quarters, storage for the many scuba tanks, a galley, and most of all, one of the best raconteurs this side of Planet Earth as her captain. I was a child, but it did not escape me that our Belizean reef was a source of enchantment and fascination to this revolving door of strange, interesting people who passed through our lodge’s doors. Sitting in the lobby listening to their stories, I lived a life of constant wonderment.
You can imagine my excitement, then, when in February of 1972, on my father’s return from one of his many trips to Lighthouse Reef, he and his dive group regaled us with stories of one of the most fascinating and unbelievable discoveries, that of the very first sighting of our very own Blue Hole Monster.
The story about the monster appeared in the February 25th, 1972 edition of the Reporter newspaper. It is astounding to me that this strange and interesting creature has never been seen since, or that no expedition since has been made to try to locate or sight it.
I firmly believe my father and his group of merry divers that the Blue Hole monster exists. One day, someday, someone else will come back from the dark depths of the Blue Hole to re-confirm my father’s story. I believe.
On Sunday, December 2, 2018, the Discovery Channel along with Fabien Cousteau (grandson of famous French explorer, Jacques Cousteau) and Richard Branson aired a live broadcast from the bottom of the Blue Hole. This was only be the second documented attempt at exploring the Blue Hole’s depths – the first was in 1971, led by none other than Fabien’s grandfather, Jacques himself. The broadcast, entitled Discovery Live: Into The Blue Hole, lasted two hours. If history has taught us anything, it’s that you never know what surprises lurk in the deep, dark waters of the Blue Hole.
Story and images courtesy Ray and Wendy Auxillou
Above drawing by Richie Woods
Hideaway Lodge in the background and the Atoll Queen, one of the very first liveaboards in Belize, in the foreground on Caye Caulker.
The Science Channel recently did a TV show on this subject, "Legends of the Deep - the Belize Blue Hole."