Hold your breath! A marine science professor recently came face to face with a mythical creature straight out of a fantasy novel while snorkeling off the shores of Southern California. Behold the oarfish, an 18-foot sea monster with massive eyes.
The brave instructor, Jasmine Santana from the Catalina Island Marine Institute, needed a team of over 15 strong helpers to pull the behemoth from the sea and onto the shore. The Institute staff is now buzzing with excitement, hailing a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.
Mark Waddington, the Tole Mour’s senior captain, CIMI’s sail training ship, exclaimed, “Holy mackerel! We’ve never seen a fish this big! The last of these fish that we saw was only sound 3 feet.”
Oarfish are elusive creatures that prefer depths of over a few thousand feet, making sightings few and far between. CIMI reports that they are still largely a mystery to marine scientists.
The oarfish was found to have died from natural causes, and tissue samples along with video footage have been sent to biologists at UC Santa Barbara for further study.
While exploring the depths of Toyon Bay, science instructor Santana stumbled upon a glittery surprise about 30 feet below. It wasn’t a sunken treasure chest or a mermaid’s jewelry, but something just as impressive: a shimmering oarfish!
When Santana saw this massive fish at the bottom of the ocean while snorkeling, she knew no one would believe her. So she did what any determined person would do and dragged the beast by its tail to shore.
According to Mark Waddington, senior captain of the Tole Mour, the sight of Santana wrestling with the fish was so impressive that people were sprinting to see it. Santana’s heroic act was not in vain, as the skeleton was displayed to CMI students.
Fans of the ocean can only hope that this inspires the next generation of marine biologists to tackle even bigger sea creatures.
In the world of fish, the oarfish is a true legend. These deep-water swimmers can grow up to a whopping 50 feet long and are the lengthiest bony fish on Earth! It’s no wonder they’re behind all those terrifying sea serpent tales.
The oarfish was first discovered by a biologist in 1772, and it’s received a number of names, like ribbonfish, streamer fish, Pacific oarfish, and king of the herring.
These elusive fish live way down at depths between 656 feet and 3,280 feet, so they’re not exactly the social butterflies of the sea. But when they do show up, they make an impression. The longest recorded oarfish was 26 feet, but it’s thought that they can get up to 50 feet long and weigh as much as 600 pounds.
Back in 1996, Navy Seals discovered a 23-foot oarfish off the coast of California. And just recently, a shiny, silvery, 18-foot carcass washed up on shore in Southern California. Maybe it’s time for these fish to get their own Hollywood blockbuster.