Categorized | Environment, State

Rare Sea Serpent Found Off Catalina

 

18-Foot Oarfish Monster Brought to California Shore

(VIDEO)

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It was a monster of a find.

The 18-foot oarfish found dead off Catalina Island over the weekend was rare not only because they live nowhere near coastlines, but also because it was among the biggest reported in nearly 20 years.

26-year-old science instructor Jasmine Santana brought the oarfish to shore at the Catalina Island Marine Institute.  The long, snake-like fish usually resides in deep oceans, but Santana happened upon it in less than 15 feet of water at Toyon Bay, about 2 miles west of the island’s main town of Avalon.

“I was out snorkeling, and I saw it just west of the pier on the sea floor,” Santana said.  “I didn’t have a camera, and I thought to myself, if I just tell everyone I saw this huge thing, they probably won’t believe me.”

So, she dove down to inspect the creature and, after making sure it was dead– and checking to make sure nothing else even bigger was around that might have killed it– Santana began pulling the fish by its tail to shore.

“It was so heavy, there was no way I was lifting that thing out of the water,” she said.  “It felt like I was in life-saving training for lifeguards.”

Once she got the oarfish to shallow water, other instructors ran toward the find in disbelief, helping her pull in the estimated 200-pound creature.  Fellow instructor Michelle Sakai-Hart was offloading gear from the Institute’s tallship Tole Mour at the pier when she saw Santana in the water, struggling with the oarfish.

“I had heard of an oarfish, and had seen footage of a baby one, but nothing like this,” Sakai-Hart said.  In total, it took 15 adults to get the silvery, slimy fish onto shore.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” Jeff Chace, program director at Catalina Island Marine Institute, said.

Rick Feeney, ichthyology collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, said giant oarfish only “wash up occasionally” because they’re typically found deep in open ocean.  When oarfish come closer to shore, they could be starving, disoriented or landed in shallower water because of a storm. 

“It may be a sign of distress.  They’re usually in the deep ocean, away from land,” Feeney said.  Giant oarfish get up to maximum length of about 27 feet, he said, adding that stories of them reaching 50 or more feet haven’t been verified. 

One of the museum’s existing specimens, a 14-foot oarfish recovered from Catalina Island in 2006, is well-known to visitors.  It is suspended in alcohol in a giant case in the grand foyer.  “Not a whole lot is known about them, because they are sort of secretive,” Feeney said.  “We’re slowly finding out more about them.”

The Catalina Island Marine Institute is awaiting results of several samples sent out to researchers of its 18-foot specimen.  Until then, staff members say they lack the capacity to keep it refrigerated.  In the absence of preserving the carcass, the institute may go with one option on the table:  Bury the dead fish in 3 feet of sand and let it decompose over a couple of months.  After that, the skeleton could be exhumed and mounted.

Oarfish live most of their lives at depths between 700 and 3,000 feet.  While thought to be capable of growing to 50 feet in length, little is known of the fish’s behavior and sightings of the animal alive are rare.  Oarfish are thought to be the basis of sea serpent legends accounted for by ancient sailors.

A 12-foot oarfish washed ashore in Malibu in 2010, but it was a much smaller — and thinner — variety with its silvery scales and a scarlet red dorsal fin.  But not since a group of Navy SEALS found a 23-foot-long oarfish off Coronado in 1996 has such a large oarfish
been reported as this one.

In recent years, researchers have captured video of an oarfish swimming deep underwater in the Gulf of Mexico and spotted one swimming not far from the shore in Baja California.  

Recent video of the creature alive and well was published in the Journal of Fish Biology this summer, as remotely operated vehicles surveying oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico incidentally captured video of the fish swimming in its natural state.

“By sheer luck, we encountered five oarfish while conducting surveys down there,” said Mark Benfield, professor at Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences.  What caught Benfield’s eye was the animal’s movement in water. 

“Normally, they just move by this curious undulation of the dorsal fin, but when it wants to pick up the pace, it can serpentine quickly through the water,” Benfield said.

* * * * * * * * *

 

Via Google/Discovery News
If you like this post, please share it

2 Responses to “Rare Sea Serpent Found Off Catalina”

  1. Desirae says:

    Cool article. It’s about time to find something interesting for a change.

  2. bon ami says:

    Your posts always contain an air of mystery. I like it. Make sure your article is not revealed in a single glance. It is best if people are kept guessing what’s around the corner with sea serpants, bigfoot, and ufos. thanks.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Jazz break
    Billie Holiday: "Trav'lin' Light"       […]
  • Scientists find direct link between fracking and earthquakes
    Think Progress - A team of scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have found evidence “directly linking” the uptick in Colorado and New Mexico earthquakes since 2001 to wastewater injection, a process widely used in the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and conventional drilling.In a study to be published in the Bulletin of th […]
  • Who cares who was a communist?
    From 50 years of our overstocked archivesSam Smith, 2006 -  Who cares who was a communist?Reading about Arthur Miller's alleged Communist connections brings to mind some unfinished business for American historians: a fair account of American Communists. Even today, the image projected by the media is heavily tilted towards the FBI version of the tale, a […]
  • Department of Good Stuff: Media
    Alternet Common Dreams Counterpunch Firedog Lake Guardian Information Clearinghouse Intercept In These Times Make It Plain Popular Resistance Portside Progressive Magazine Progressive Review Raw Story Truthdig Truthout […]
  • US Jewish organizations funding US police officers' training In Israel
    Center for Invesigative Reporting - At least 300 high-ranking sheriffs and police from agencies large and small – from New York and Maine to Orange County and Oakland, California – have traveled to Israel for privately funded seminars in what is described as counterterrorism techniques.... In many places, the image of the friendly cop on the beat has been re […]
  • Largest city in Vermont now gets all its power from wind, solar and biomass
    Think Progress - The 42,000 people living in Burlington, Vermont can now feel confident that when they turn on their TVs or power up their computers they are using renewable energy. With the purchase of the 7.4 megawatt Winooski One hydroelectric project earlier this month, the Burlington Electric Department now owns or contracts renewable sources — includin […]
  • America's first big success in war against ISIS
    Daily Mail, UK -  More than 6,000 new recruits have joined ISIS since America started targeting the terrorist group with air strikes last month, it has been claimed.Of those radical Muslims flocking to ISIS' ranks, at least 1,300 are foreigners who have arrived from outside the vast swaths of Syria and Iraq currently under the group's control, acco […]
  • Two thirds in capital want to legalize pot
    DCist -A majority of D.C. voters want marijuana legalized in the District, according to a Washington Post-NBC4-Marist poll.Of likely voters polled, 65 percent are in favor of Initiative 71, which would legalize the growing of no more than six cannabis plants and possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. That number goes up to 71 percent when just looking […]
  • 47 states have poverty rates above pre-recession
    Off the Charts - Poverty remained above pre-recession levels last year in 47 states plus the District of Columbia, our analysis of Census data shows.  In some states, the increase was substantial — in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Nevada, poverty rates were four to five percentage points higher in 2013 than in 2007.  The stubbornness of high pov […]
  • New study projects population in 2100 two billion higher than former predictions
    Slashdot - Using modern statistical tools, a new study led by the University of Washington and the United Nations finds that world population is likely to keep growing throughout the 21st century. The number of people on Earth is likely to reach 11 billion by 2100, the study concludes, about 2 billion higher than widely cited previous estimates. The paper pu […]
  • Word: Spanking has a negative effect
    Child Trends - Use of corporal punishment is linked to negative outcomes for children (e.g., delinquency, antisocial behavior, psychological problems, and alcohol and drug abuse), and may be indicative of ineffective parenting. Research also finds that the number of problem behaviors observed in adolescence is related to the amount of spanking a child receiv […]
  • US marriages at 90 year low
    The Census Bureau reported Thursday that the nation’s marriage rate is the lowest since 1920, and the first-time inclusion of same sex married couples did little to reverse the decline.According to Pew Research Center analysis, the marriage rate of Americans 18 and older hit a bottom of 50.3 percent in 2013, down from 50.5 percent in 2012. In 1920, the first […]
  • Arthur the polar bear suffers through climate change
    Daily Mail, UK - His shaggy white coat is perfectly ­suited to icy conditions as low as minus 40C in his Arctic circle habitat. But it is hell in this concrete enclosure at Argentina’s Mendoza Zoo, where the temperature can reach 40C (104F).Tragic Arturo – Spanish for Arthur – has been a sad tourist attraction at the zoo for around 20 years.He is thought to […]
  • Pocket paradigms
    Neo-liberal: Someone who thinks the Constitution's commerce clause is more important to defend and expand than the 1st or 4th Amendments. - Sam Smith […]
  • Word
    Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore th […]