The Submarine (shark)

The Submarine is the name given to a particularly large and aggressive great white shark that is claimed to have dwelled in False Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa, during the 1970s and the 1980s. According to some, it is still there.

Many people have reported encounters with the shark over the past thirty years or so but the story undoubtedly began as a hoax by journalists and then quite unexpectedly grew to have a life of its own and became an urban legend. The tales told about the animal provide an example of an urban legend that can be traced to its origins. The affair is very similar to the Great Wall of China hoax.

Sightings

In the early seventies the newspapers in Cape Town were full of reports about "the Submarine". It was easy to recognize, it was huge and it commonly did interesting things [1] such as biting outboard motors off the sterns of small boats. Everyone who saw the fish considered himself or herself lucky to have escaped alive.

The shark has been reported from many parts of False Bay but is said to spend most of its time around Seal Island. (This is not an unreasonable thing for an obligate marine carnivore to do, as the island teems with Cape Fur Seals).

The fish is said to be so large it shows up on Sonar[2]. Reports of its length vary but figures of six to eight metres are quoted. [1]

What really happened

In the early seventies a group of journalists from the Cape Times and the Argus gathered for a few ales at the Tavern of the Seas. A dispute arose as to how gullible the average reader really was. A bet was made to the following effect: the journalists would create an entirely fictitious tale about a Brobdingnagian shark in False Bay. It would have certain distinguishing markings and a certain huge length. The tale would be published, in one of the newspapers, with a fake "eye-witness account". The journalists would then sit back and wait until somebody phoned to claim that they had "seen" the fish.

The results stunned everyone involved. The switchboards were immediately jammed with reports of sightings of the shark, or of the exact details of its markings and habits, or of its exact length.

Shark and helicopter hoax

This old story may have also provided the ideafor a mockup of two separate photos that appeared to show a huge great white attacking a person on a ladder hanging from a helicopter.[2] The writeup typically said it was from "near South Africa", although the helicopter shot was clearly taken from San Francisco Bay in California. The helicopter in the picture is a HH-60 Pave Hawk as flown by the California Air National Guard. Closer inspection also reveals two swimmers in the water under the helicopter.

In some variants it was also alleged to be a National Geographic photo of the year, so the Society went to some lengths to uncover the source photos, and wrote about the hoax in a 2005 issue of the magazine.

Notes

  1. ^  DeeperBlue.net
  2. ^  SportFishInfo.com

References

Carcharodon
Smith, 1838

Species: C. carcharias

Binomial name
Carcharodon carcharias
(Linnaeus, 1758)


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False Bay (Afrikaans Valsbaai) is a body of water defined by the Cape Peninsula (the finger-like projection on the right in the accompanying satellite image) and Cape Hangklip (Dutch/Afrikaans for "Hang-stone") to the left (east).
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Cape Town
Kaapstad, iKapa

Panorama of the Cape Town city bowl from the Waterfront to Table Mountain

Flag
Nickname: The mother city, or The Tavern of the Seas
Motto:
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urban legend or urban myth is similar to a modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. The term is often used to mean something akin to "apocryphal story".
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Great Wall of China hoax was a faked story, published in U.S. newspapers on June 25, 1899, about bids by American businesses to demolish the Great Wall of China and construct a road in its place.
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Seal Island can refer to:
  • Seal Island, South Africa - Located just off the coast of South Africa and known primarily for attacks by Great White Sharks on the Cape Fur Seal.
  • Machias Seal Island - Located in the Gulf of Maine.

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A. pusillus

Binomial name
Arctocephalus pusillus
(Schreber, 1775)


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SONAR (SOund NAvigation and R anging) — or sonar — is a technique that uses sound propagation under water (primarily) to navigate, communicate or to detect other vessels. There are two kinds of sonar — active and passive.
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The Cape Times is an English language morning newspaper owned by Independent News and Media and published in Cape Town, South Africa. The first edition of the newspaper was published in 1876 by then editor Frederick York St Leger.
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Cape Argus is a daily newspaper published by Independent News & Media in Cape Town, South Africa. At times in the past it was known simply as "The Argus".

External links

  • Cape Argus online

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Cape Town
Kaapstad, iKapa

Panorama of the Cape Town city bowl from the Waterfront to Table Mountain

Flag
Nickname: The mother city, or The Tavern of the Seas
Motto:
..... Click the link for more information.
Brobdingnag is a fictional land in Jonathan Swift's satirical novel Gulliver's Travels occupied by giants. Lemuel Gulliver visits the land after the ship on which he is traveling is blown off course to an unknown land and he is separated from a party exploring the unknown
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San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean.
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Type Combat Search and Rescue helicopter
Manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Status Active: 68
Reserve: 15
ANG: 18[1]
Primary user United States Air Force
Unit cost US$15.
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National Geographic Society, headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States, is one of the world's largest not-for-profit educational and scientific organizations. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and
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