It is not every day that people get a glimpse of a sea monster near the shore, but that’s what happened on Christmas Eve at a city harbor in Japan.
A giant squid sighting took place in Toyama Bay, which was several hundred meters away from the deep part of the ocean.
Also called Architeuthis squid, the sea creature was seen swimming underneath fishing boats along the harbor.
— CNN International (@cnni) December 28, 2015
Because it is not common to see such sea species in the area, diver Akinobu Kimura jumped into the water to take a look.
“My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and got close to it,” the diver said in an interview.
According to the diver’s observation, the giant squid was in good condition and looked lively. It was even spurting ink at him and trying to entangle him with its tentacles.
Fortunately, Kimura, who owns a diving shop in the area, was able to guide the squid into the ocean, which was several hundred meters away from where they found it.
However, professional underwater cameraman Takayoshi Kojima said that although the squid showed signs of being lively, it seemed that it would not survive long.
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Mitsuhiro Fuwa of the Uozu Aquarium also said that the giant squid’s body was pointing downwards, and its legs were up.
The normal position for squids is the head should be pointed upward, while the tentacles are pointing downward. This position also helps them swim fast, either to catch prey or to flee an enemy.
Fuwa added that this is the first sighting of the giant squid this season, while 16 other Architeuthis squids were spotted last season. However, unlike this one which freely swam toward the harbor, those squids were trapped by fishing nets.
Several bystanders also caught the giant squid on camera. A submersible camera was also used to take a closer look at the squid underwater, while Kimura was guiding it.
According to a report by CNN, the giant squid may just be a juvenile even though it measured around 3.7 meters or 12.1 feet long. A full-grown giant squid can measure up to 13 meters or 43 feet for females, and 10 meters or 33 feet for males.
— AnimalPlanet (@AnimalPlanet) August 10, 2014
There were earlier theories that claim giant squids can grow over 18 meters long, although no literature, research, or sighting has been able to back up this claim.
Kojima mentioned that most giant squid sightings in Toyama take place between December and January, when the marine species are moving north due to rising water temperatures.
He added that from Toyama, the giant squids would swim up from deeper waters until the winter season ends.
Giant squid sightings have been rare over the past centuries. A report said that for hundreds of years, the giant squid was considered a myth due to its association and resemblance to some mythical sea creatures in early literature and mythology.
Watch Scientists Explain the Connection Between Giant Squid Sighting and the Kraken Myth
While there have been some specimens of these squids washed ashore, the first time a giant squid was observed in its natural habitat was in 2004, off the coast of Ogasawara Islands in the northern Pacific ocean.
Soon after, the Discovery Channel worked with Japanese broadcaster NHK to film the first live adult giant squid sighting in the same location in 2012.
Architeuthis dux is considered the longest known squid in the ocean, although the most massive squid is the colossal squid, also known as Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, which weighs around 350 kilograms.
“We’ve only explored about five percent of our ocean. There are great discoveries to be made down there, fantastic creatures representing millions of years of evolution,” said Edie Widder, an oceanographer and squid expert.
[Image via YouTube]