Max Westenhofer was a German pathologist who, in the early 1940s, made a comment that was as controversial as it was thought-provoking: "The postulation of an aquatic mode of life during an early stage of human evolutions is a tenable hypothesis, for which further inquiry may producer additional supporting evidence." Almost two decades later, a marine biologist named Alister Hardy added that very ancient "primitive ape stock" may have been forced – by competing predators and circumstances – "to feed on the sea shores and to hunt for food, shell fish, sea urchins, etc., in the shallows of the coast. I suppose that they were forced into the water just as we have seen happen in so many other groups of terrestrial animals."
There’s a large body of data available which shows that – unlike many apes and monkeys – Bigfoot is quite an adept swimmer, and a creature for whom water is far from being an alien environment. The North American Wood Ape Conservancy say: "Swimming must be examined alongside the terrestrial gait of the wood ape since it appears to be an important means of locomotion throughout the range of this species in North America, especially on the west coast."
Lisa Shiel, who has had personal interactions with Bigfoot, has uncovered an example of Bigfoot in the water from the 19th century. She outlines the story: "In the 1830s, reports emerged from the area around Fish Lake, Indiana, of a four-foot-tall 'wild child' loitering in the vicinity – and swimming in the lake." Shiel continues: "In another incident that took place in September 1967, a fisherman casting his net on the delta of the Nooksack River in Washington State felt something tug on his net. A moment later something began dragging his net upstream. When he shined his flashlight at the thief, he saw a hairy hominid in the river hauling in the net."
A third case comes from the people who run the website, Today in Bigfoot History! They state: "William Drexler’s campsite overlooked Phantom Ship Island. He had just finished his sausage and egg breakfast and was smoking his morning pipe, just looking out over Crater Lake [Wyoming]. That is when he noticed something moving on Phantom Ship Island." For those who may be wondering, Phantom Ship Island is a small, craggy island on Crater Lake that takes its name from its "ghost-ship"-like appearance, which is particularly noticeable when the mist hovers low and thick. The story continues: "What Drexler saw was a brownish grey Bigfoot, obviously soaking wet, stretching out on some rocks near the water’s edge..."
One of the most fascinating examples originated near Ketchikan, Alaska, at some point around the turn of the 1960s. It was a story provided to long-time Bigfoot authority and investigator, John Green. The story had a bit of a "friend of a friend" aspect to it, but it is no less fascinating. It revolved around a young boy named Errol, who, on one particular night, was out fishing with his father, when his flashlight illuminated something terrifying standing in the water: a large, humanoid creature, but one which was clearly not human, staring intently at him.
Not surprisingly, the boy screamed at the top of his lungs and fled for his life. A posse of men came running, just in time to illuminate the dark waters with their flashlights, and who saw to their astonishment the huge beast dive into the water and start swimming "like a frog," before vanishing from view, as it plunged ever deeper into the depths. In moments, it was gone – demonstrating its skills as a powerful, fast swimmer.
Rupert Matthews, the author of Bigfoot, reports: "In July 1965 a Sasquatch was seen swimming some distance away from the shore of Princess Royal Island, British Columbia. The fisherman who saw it realized with no little apprehension that it was actually swimming for his boat, so he started up his outboard motor and sped off. At this point four more Sasquatch appeared on a nearby beach and watched him."
There have been sightings of swimming Bigfoot in Texas, too. Rob Riggs, who deeply studied reports of the creatures in and around the Big Thicket are of the Lone Star State, told of one particularly notable case of a watery Sasquatch: "John's family home is on the edge of the Trinity River swamps near Dayton. One night he heard a disturbance on the porch where he kept a pen of rabbits. He investigated just in time to see a large, dark form make off with rabbit in hand. John impulsively followed in hot pursuit, staying close enough to hear the rabbit squeal continuously."
John was able to close in on the creature, and to a point where he witnessed something amazing occur, as Riggs revealed: "Standing on the high bank in the moonlight he watched dumb-struck as what looked like a huge ape-like animal swam to the other side of the river, easily negotiating the strong current, and never letting go of the rabbit."
In March 2007, the "Goldie E." family told of swimming Bigfoot around Trinidad, California. Rather bizarrely, the creatures were reportedly seen swimming alongside sea-lions, as they negotiated the waters from Trinidad Head Rock to Flat Iron Rock! The biting, cold waters apparently affected the Bigfoot not a bit.