San Francisco History

Marine Monster off Alcatraz

Horrific Marine Monster Encountered Off Alcatraz

Fishermen Fail to Hurl The Harpoon Into Sea Serpent

Two Italian fishermen had a thrilling adventure yesterday on the bay with a marine monster that they described, when they arrived, pale and trembling, at Meiggs wharf as being 600 feet long, possessed of 47 eyes, a big horn, a great mouth and a breath like an automobile. They encountered the leviathan off Alcatraz. Their attention was attracted to a glistening something that projected a foot or more above the water and appeared to be drifting with the tide.

They decided that it probably was metal work attached to a chunk of wreckage which might be worth saving. They decided to save it. They took down the sail of their boat and rowed to within a few feet of the object. One of them took a heaving line and was swinging it around his head preparatory to lassoing the treasure when there came a sudden roar. The object of their attention suddenly rushed through the water at terric speed and as it gained headway there appeared above the surface a great green body that disappeared again in a cloud of smoke.

There was no more fishing for those sons of Italy. They hoisted sail and scooted for Meiggs wharf, where they told their tale. A few hours later somebody heard a member of the crew of the submarine torpedo boat Barracuta tell how they had scared the life out of two fishermen whose preparations with the heaving line they had watched through the submarine's periscope.

Source: San Francisco Call, 11 May 1912, page 10.

"USS F-2, a 330-ton F-1 class submarine built at San Francisco, California, was commissioned in June 1912. She had originally been named Barracuda, but was renamed F-2 in November 1911, prior to being launched. The submarine served in West Coast waters for her entire career, except for August 1914 through November 1915, when she was based at Honolulu, Hawaii. In September 1919 she was placed in commission, in reserve, for training purposes. Designated SS-21 in July 1920, when the Navy implemented its hull number system, USS F-2 was formally decommissioned in March 1922 and sold in August of that year."


Source (text and photograph): Department of Navy, Navy Historical Center <>. 16 February 2006.


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