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Published on 16 Oct 2013 | over 4 years ago

OARFISH found: A snorkeler off the coast of California made an alarming discovery while paddling of an unidentified creature around Catalina Island, south of Los Angeles: a recently deceased 18-foot oarfish, one of the creatures thought to be the "sea serpents" of nautical legend.

Jasmine Santana, a science instructor for the Catalina Island Marine Institute, or CIMI, was on an ordinary excursion in Toyon Bay when she spotted the silvery creature lying on the sea bed just 15 feet under the waves.

After donning gloves and checking to make sure it was truly dead (with anything this size, it pays to be careful), she and some colleagues managed to bring it to the surface and drag it to shore.

At 18 feet in length, the oarfish was too big for her to lift alone, even underwater — and it took 15 people to handle it on land (CIMI says it could weigh as much as 300 pounds). Yet for an oarfish, the largest of all bony fish, 18 feet is pretty shrimpy; they can grow to over 50 feet, according to NOAA.

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