Those who discovered a 15-foot-long oarfish washed onto a popular Cabo San Lucas beach on Friday must have wondered whether it was some sort of sea monster.
Oarfish, after all, are believed to have spawned myths of sea serpents among ancient mariners. This is because of their slender, ribbon-like bodies and the bright-orange coloration and peculiar shape of their dorsal fins.
They're rarely seen because they reside in depths of between 600 and 3,000 feet. But dead or dying oarfish, measuring to 30-plus feet, occasionally wash ashore.
The oarfish found on Medano Beach was barely alive and ultimately perished. According to the Pisces Sportfishing blog, the oarfish, which could have been kept for scientific study, was instead taken offshore by marine park wardens and dumped at sea.
The Pisces blog reports that an employee from Pisces Real Estate was among those who first spotted the oarfish.
"He was right in front of Villa 2 when he saw a commotion on the beach and a small crowd gathered at the water's edge," states the blog. "His first thought was, 'There's been an accident.' Then he saw three locals supporting what appeared to him as a monster from the deep. He ran down to get a closer look and saw three locals assisting the strange creature, which appeared to be in distress as it struggled for air."
There were reports of another oarfish floundering nearby, but they could not be verified.
--Oarfish image is courtesy of Pisces Sportfishing