Sea Snake ID?

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Posted by Jeff Burnett on December 14, 2000 at 12:39:46:

I posted this to a California email list but thought some here may know. It was suggested that it may be a yellow bellied sea snake, but I don't think it is. Posted as follows;

Hello all, yesterday during an open water class I had the fortune of seeing a new critter. We were at Avila Beach (San Luis Obispo Ca.) in about 15fsw sand bottom, when this approx. 15" cream colored snake swam right up to my mask, after the initial shock wore off I had a closer look. It was approx. 3/8 " wide and horizontally flat relative to its head, cream colored on the exterior portions and a darker cream towards the center of its body. It was swimming just like the sea snakes we see on TV but with an up and down undulation as opposed to a side to side one as is common to land snakes. I managed to grab it (Dumb move, I know) and it was extremely calm and made no efforts to strike me at all (as sent to me via private email "welcome to first day of the rest of my life" =). I couldn't get a very good look at its head as my students were starting to get a bit excited about it and I had to let him go away from the class. The body and head were the same overall diameter. I cant find anything in my books and in 9 years of diving this beach, it is the first I have ever seen or heard of.
Any ideas as to what it may be? Maybe not a snake at all but sure looked and moved like one, water temps 50 f brrrrrrrr..


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