Jasmine Santana's snorkeling experience on Sunday at Toyon Bay off Catalina Island is one for the books. The marine science instructress came across a carcass of an 18-foot sea serpent. With the help of friends and staff of the Catalina Island Marine Institute, Santana managed to drag the almost intact body of the monster fish to shore.
The snake-like fish known in the science world as an oarfish can grow up to 50 feet. It is considered as the longest bony fish known to man at the moment. Encounters with the oarfish are very rare since they are deep-water creatures staying at depths of 3,000 feet.
Santana spotted the silvery creature at the depth of 30 feet in the waters off the said bay and decided to drag the oarfish thinking that no one will believe her story without any proof.
"She said, 'I have to drag this thing out of here or nobody will believe me," said Mark Waddington, another staff member of CIMI, in an interview with ABC News.
Another group of CIMI instructors came from a staff tour and were fixing their gears when they saw Santana pulling the fish by its tail. About 75 feet into the shore, the CIMI team waded together to bring the fish to land. It took around 20 people to pick the oarfish up off the ground for the photo op.
The body of the fish were oggled at by children who enlisted with the CIMI camps and curious employees of the said organization. The staff has been in contact with experts from the University of California Santa Barbara and a natural history museum in Los Angeles, according to reports.
As the body of the oarfish cannot fit in a freezer, it will most likely be buried and allow nature to take its course. The bones of the oarfish will later be exhumed for scientific purposes.
"The craziest thing we saw during our two day-journey at sea happened when we got home. These islands never cease to amaze," said Connor Gallagher, another instructor at CIMI who teaches kids to snorkel and kayak for their Sea Camp program, in a statement to KTLA.
The very long fish that might have inspired tales of serpent fish seemed have died due to natural causes.
Toyon Bay is roughly 22 miles from the Port of Los Angeles and is just two miles away from Avalon.