(NEW YORK) -- Legend has it that the Loch Ness monster was first sighted in the sixth century by an Irish monk while preaching by the lake. Now, a Scottish sailor who has spent the last 26 years of his life searching for the elusive creature, says he has the best picture yet of “Nessie.”
George Edwards takes his boat, “Nessie Hunter,” out onto Loch Ness nearly every day, often with tourists who hope to see the creature for themselves. Early one morning in November of last year, Edwards was turning his ship back to shore after spending the morning searching for an old steam engine on the lake floor, when he saw something else.
“I saw something out of the corner of my eye, and immediately grabbed my camera,” Edwards told ABC News. “I happened to get a good picture of one of them.”
The typical “media Nessie,” as Edwards calls it, depicts the creature with three humps sticking out of the water and a long neck with a head like a horse, but Edwards says that’s probably not what Nessie looks like.
The picture Edwards took shows what he says is the back of one of the Loch Ness monsters.
“In my opinion, it probably looks kind of like a manatee, but not a mammal,” Edwards told ABC. “When people see three humps, they’re probably just seeing three separate monsters.”
While many people think of the Loch Ness monster as a single creature, Edwards maintains that can’t be true.
“It was first seen in 565 AD,” Edwards said. “Nothing can live that long. It’s more likely that there are a number of monsters, offspring of the original.”
Edwards has a lot of theories about the Loch Ness monster, which he first became fascinated with when he was a 13-year-old boy and his father would take him fishing at the massive lake. He says he was a skeptic at first, but decades on Loch Ness have turned him into an ardent believer.
“I grew up with the legend, like the boogeyman, or Big Foot in your part of the world, and most people start out thinking it’s a myth,” Edwards said. “But Loch Ness is so deep and dark and mysterious, when you start hearing more and more stories, you start believing more.”
The main argument Edwards says he hears from skeptics is that the lake has been searched, and nothing has ever been found proving the existence of a Loch Ness monster.
“That’s a silly reason to not believe though, because those expeditions can’t prove anything one way or the other,” Edwards told ABC. “It’s a massive body of water, deep and dark, and we simply don’t have the technology to really do that kind of search.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio