However, avid divers might recognise this beast as an ocean sunfish, one of the largest and dumbest swimmers in the sea. The beached sunfish that the boys had found only reached 6-ft long (almost 2m) but the species is well known to grow up to 11ft long (3.3m) and can weigh up to 2.5 tonnes. In the past, National Geographic has described the fish as a 'big floating blob'.
Tim described the encounter to the Geelong Advertiser:
We were walking along and saw this big lump on the sand. I’ve never seen anything like that before. It looked like an alien from a distance.
Tim and James weren't the first ones to witness the fish however, as a couple and their daughter also reported spotting the heavy fish over the weekend. The couple, Cath and Tom Rampton who were both veterinarians claimed that the sunfish took them completely by surprise and neither of them had ever seen the species before. Cath told the Daily Mail Australia:
My understanding is it’s not a very big specimen, I think they can get up to double that size.
The fish collection manager at the South Australian Museum, Ralph Foster explained that sunfish often get washed up on beaches due collisions with boats, which can be particularly dangerous for yachts at sea due to the sunfish's bony body:
One of the big dangers would being hit by big boats at sea. They often eat plastic bags thinking they are jelly fish which can kill them.
Back in 2018 one of the yachts in the Hobart race was forced to drop out after a run-in with a sunfish completely the boat's rudder.