LOS ANGELES – A marine science instructor snorkeling off the Southern California coast spotted something out of a fantasy novel: the silvery carcass of an 18-foot-long, serpent-like oarfish.
Jasmine Santana of the Catalina Island Marine Institute needed more than 15 helpers to drag the giant sea creature with eyes the size of half-dollars to shore Sunday.
Staffers at the institute are calling it the discovery of a lifetime.
“We’ve never seen a fish this big,” said Mark Waddington, senior captain of the Tole Mour, CIMI’s sail training ship. “The last oarfish we saw was 3 feet long.”
Because oarfish dive more than 3,000 feet deep, sightings of the creatures are rare and they are largely unstudied, according to CIMI.