IVERNESS, Scotland, April 20 (UPI) -- A Scottish boat captain who says a sonar image he took of a large underwater object is the Loch Ness monster won the Best Nessie Sighting of The Year Award.
Marcus Atkinson, 43, of Fort Augustus, snapped a cellphone picture of his sonar screen when it showed an object about 75 feet down in Loch Ness and measuring nearly 5 feet wide, The Sun reported Friday.
Atkinson said his equipment makes the length of the object difficult to pinpoint, but he is convinced the serpent-like shape on his sonar readout depicts the Loch Ness monster. The picture he took of the readout won him the Best Nessie Sighting of The Year Award from bookmakers William Hill.
"I have seen a lot of pictures in 21 years of being here but this is the most clearest image yet," Atkinson said. "Undoubtedly, there is something in the loch."
However, Simon Boxall, from the National Oceanography Center in Southampton, England, said there is a more mundane explanation for the sonar picture.
"The picture is built up slowly as the boat moves so it's not a snap shot and thus the image is not an image of a single object unless it is very still," he said. "The image shows a bloom of algae and zooplankton that would exist on what would be a thermocline. Zooplankton live off this algae and reflect sound signals from echo sounders and fish finders very well."