A marine science professor had an incredible encounter while snorkeling off Southern California's coast. They came face to face with an oarfish, a mythical creature that looks like it belongs in a fantasy novel. This sea monster is a whopping 18-feet long and has massive eyes.
Jasmine Santana, an instructor at the Catalina Island Marine Institute, required over 15 strong helpers to extract the massive oarfish from the sea onto the shore. The Institute staff is now thrilled with this once-in-a-lifetime discovery.
Mark Waddington, the senior captain of CIMI's sail training ship Tole Mour, exclaimed in amazement, stating that they have never seen a fish this large before. In the past, the largest oarfish they had seen was only around 3 feet in length.
Oarfish are rarely seen as they prefer depths of a few thousand feet. Even marine scientists are still mystified by these creatures, according to CIMI. The discovered oarfish had passed away naturally, and UC Santa Barbara biologists are now examining tissue samples and video footage to learn more.
Santana found the oarfish while snorkeling and dragged it to shore. People were amazed at the sight of her wrestling with the creature. The oarfish's skeleton was later shown to CIMI students.
Discovery of the oarfish could inspire future marine biologists to study bigger sea creatures. Oarfish are legendary as they can grow up to 50 feet long, making them the longest bony fish in the world and possibly the basis of sea serpent legends.
Oarfish, also known as ribbonfish, streamer fish, Pacific oarfish, and king of the herring, were first discovered in 1772. They live at depths of 656 to 3,280 feet and can grow up to 50 feet long and weigh up to 600 pounds, although the longest recorded oarfish was 26 feet.
With the recent discovery of an 18-foot oarfish carcass on the shores of Southern California, it seems like these elusive creatures are making more frequent appearances. In 1996, Navy Seals also found a 23-foot oarfish off the coast of California. Perhaps it's time for these impressive fish to star in their own Hollywood blockbuster.