The encounter that these New Zealanders had this weekend is as unbelievable as it is sad. The three brothers went diving off the coast of Wellington and were looking for a perfect place to venture into the depths when they crossed paths with an extraordinary specimen: a giant squid. Unfortunately, the specimen was no longer alive; it was lying washed ashore on a sandy beach.
The divers were as stunned by the encounter as by the size of the animal and took several snaps that they posted on Facebook, triggering lively reactions. Two of them even posed next to the cephalopod to give an idea of its size, and the comparison is quite impressive. With its tentacles, the creature easily manages to overshadow the divers.
'After going diving, we returned with a tape measure to see it, and it measured 14 feet long,' Daniel Aplin, one of the three brothers, told the NZ Herald. During their lives, the brothers had crossed paths with a few sharks but had never before seen such an imposing squid. Even if its size is impressive, it is nevertheless very unusual.
A mysterious death
A spokesperson from the Department of New Zealand Preservation confirmed that it was indeed a giant squid and not a colossal squid, another species that can reach even bigger sizes. According to estimates, the giant squid can reach a maximum size of 33-40 feet. The specimen found was therefore rather small.
In fact we don’t know a great deal about it. After discovering the animal, the three brothers contacted a friend, then the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), who organised to collect the specimen, whose cause of death we still don’t know. According to the divers, the squid showed no sign that could provide a lead.
'It was in a pretty good state, nothing significant to point out. It had a wound in the top of its head but it was smaller than a lighter, tiny, I don’t think that was what killed it,' confirmed Daniel Aplin.
Creatures of the deep unknown
For its part, the Department’s spokesperson specified that the species 'was not ordinary but was not rare' either. Even though they are not often seen, it is the squid in particular who is normally found in these depths.
According to the experts, the giant squid would move about between depths of 1,000 and 3,300 feet below the sea. Nevertheless, the species, incidentally like that of the colossal squid, largely remains undiscovered. The first images of the living specimens living in their natural habitat go back to the 2000s. Among them is a sequence of a 10-feet specimen, revealed in 2012 by a Japanese team led by the expert Tsunemi Kubodera.
In 2015, in the bay of Toyama, also in Japan, another specimen of around 10 feet appeared. A diver ventured to go alongside it and succeeded in filming it before the cephalopod returned to sea.