Loren Coleman, Cryptomundo.com
November 3rd, 2011
Fortean cryptozoo researcher Richard Muirhead once discovered the following “Sea Dogs” encounter, which he called “one of the strangest animal stories from Hong Kong” he had ever found:
From the Hong Kong Telegraph Extra, April 17, 1914 p.1,
Another animal story is going the rounds in yachting circles just now. Some animal-certainly it was not of the order of fishes, says our informant-which is thought to be a seal was seen between the Soko Group [these islands south of Lantau island. Cheung Chau is to the west-south-west of Hong Kong] and Cheung Chau Island on Monday [April 13, 1914] afternoon. Seen by the Telegraph, the gentleman who saw the animals, which he is of the opinion were seals, put the number that he actually saw at about eighteen, all making in one direction.
His attention was first called to them by his sailing boy on his yacht who remarked on the number of “sea-dogs” or “sea-pigs” that being the translation of the Chinese term,that there were in the water. Our informant looked but could see little at first because the animals were only just breaking water with their noses to obtain air, this being accompanied by a hissing noise. Then a small one jumped into the air and it was at once seen that, whatever they were, the passers by were not fish. Further confirmation was to be found when one of them broke water and raised his head so that he could be easily seen. His face was not unlike that of a cat with drooping whiskers over the mouth. He then dived and showed a large portion of his back as he went down;in fact,roughly speaking, five feet of his body was exposed. In all there were four persons who saw these animals – two Chinese and two Europeans and they are all convinced that they were of the nature of seals. That night the yacht was anchored in the locality and the hissing could be heard all night. However after passing Adamastor Rock [location unfound] no further traces of them were seen.
In answer to a query as to whether they were not porpoises, our informant said they were not. They had not the colour of the porpoise, but were black, as black as the Chinese pig.
Continuing, he informed us that if indeed they were what he suspected them to be, it would be a serious look out for the fisheries near Cheung Chau, for seals were voracious devourers of fish and could make sore havoc in the fishing grounds there. A question as to whether seals would be found in this latitude drew the response that the yachtsman had known of them as far south as California. [This is a rather obtuse statement. California is around 40 degrees North, Hong Kong is about the same latitude as the Tropic of Cancer i.e. c.22 N-R.]
There certainly appears to be a seal native to the latitude of California. It is spoken of in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, as is (sic) a sea lion. There is the California or Eared Seals and the Macrohinus a species of which, the M. Lenoina, also found on the Californian coast, tending to show that the appearance of some member or other of the seal family in these regions should not be impossible for geographical reasons.
Jon Downes noted when this was posted in 2010: “There are four species of seal known from China, but all are confined to northern waters.”
Yes, “Sea Dogs” are part of the cryptozoological literature and they all cannot easily be explained away as “just seals.”