It may not be as big a mystery as, say, Cadborosaurus.
But employees at some Oak Bay businesses are still scratching their heads after making a bizarre discovery.
“One of my employees went around the corner to get coffee,” said Tom O’Keeffe, owner of O’Keeffe’s Auto Service. “Suddenly he calls me over and says ‘look, there’s fish all over!'”
At least 50 fish, as it turned out. Many were on the sidewalk in front of the Newport Avenue business, but some were found on the shop’s roof and awning.
No one can explain how the fish, which have yet to be identified, ended up over a block inland from the closest body of water – Oak Bay. According to an employee at neighbouring W & J Wilson Clothiers, there were no fish to be seen when the store opened at 10 a.m. on July 27.
Theories over the source of the mystery fish abound. They may have been dropped by birds, though that’s unlikely, given the number of fish involved. Perhaps one or more very stealthy pranksters managed to deposit the fish without being seen. That’s tough to imagine too, considering the time of day that they appeared and the apparent lack of witnesses.
The most popular theory is that a rare weather phenomenon brought the fish inland.
“If anyone there observed strong cumulus clouds (in the area) it could be a waterspout,” said Andrew Weaver, a professor at the University of Victoria’s school of earth and ocean sciences. “But they’re very rare and I’ve never heard of them in Victoria.”
Weaver added that a waterspout would require fairly strong winds to occur, and according to data he gathered from weather stations at Willows and Monterey schools, there was very little wind at all last Wednesday morning.
O’Keeffe thinks the identity of the fish might be a key to solving the puzzle.
“I don’t even know if they’re fresh or saltwater,” he said. “If someone could identify what they are, that might help.”
For now, however, it appears the answer to this fish tale might be the one that got away.