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Josh and his mom

Josh and his mom

I don’t have any children (human) but I’m surrounded by my fake nieces and nephews (as well as the real thing).  One of the eldest is Josh Levitt (you know his mom from her guest blog).  He is sweet, kind, smart and all around a great kid.  Last weekend I was at a birthday party with his mom and the topic of Catalina came up … as it does.  Of course I asked her if she had seen the news about the giant ugly fish that had been found offshore and not only had she seen it she knew way more about it than me (which wasn’t hard since my knowledge ended there).  Turns out Josh had written an article on the topic for his weekly news based homework.  Each week the students in Josh’s 5th grade class have to find an article in the news then research it to write a short factual summary along with a different person’s perspective of the event.  Genius I say!  Well done teacher!  I would be in love with this assignment if I was in Josh’s class.  Creative writing and fact-finding.  I’m giddy just thinking about it.  In fact I think I’m going to go write one right now!  

Please enjoy Josh’s write-up below (It’s called The Watson Weekly which I’m sure means something but I didn’t ask what):

The Article:

Giant oarfish found off Catalina to be split for research

By Samantha Schaefer

Splash. Splash. A rare oarfish has washed up on Catalina. This rare fish was seen by a snorkeler about 20 feet underwater. The fish was dead, and it’s not the only one.

Another oarfish washed up in Oceanside, north of San Diego. This was found Friday, and is currently being examined. The other one is among the largest in 20 years, at an impressive 18 feet long. That’s longer than two people laying down, in a line!

This is not common, nor rare for this to happen. In 2010, another one washed ashore in Malibu. It was small, only 12 feet, or at least small for an oarfish.

Oarfish normally live at 700-3,000 feet deep in the water, so if they come up, it’s normally because of storms or starvation, which is bad.

Since oarfish are so long, scientists think we might have an answer to all the “sea serpent rumors” that have been a mystery for ages.

The oarfish will be dissected and sent to scientists all around the world for study. This fish proves that there is always bigger fish to fry, or find.

Multiple Perspectives:

When I found the fish, I swam near. That’s when I noticed the length of it. This was not normal. For one, I had not seen this peculiar type of before, so I was surprised. Second, when I saw it, it was dead.

I wasn’t sure what to do. After all, I’m just a snorkeler, not a scientist. So here’s what I did. I brought the dead fish up to the surface. Scientists were called to look at the fish.

Meanwhile, the other fish had washed up in San Diego. That was a different fish, but it was an oarfish nonetheless. I wonder if the two fish are related in what happened, but since they were found at almost the same time, I’m assuming that they are.

People remember the first thing that happened. That’s the way we are. So we only dissected the Catalina oarfish, not the San Diego one. People remember me for being the guy who found it, but I’m just a snorkeler.

This incident made me wonder if there are multiple oarfish down there, sitting ducks for hunters. We’ve had four washouts in the last 20 years, so I’m concerned. Good thing I’m a snorkeler, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled for oarfish.


Catalina in the distance as seen from Runyon this morning.

Catalina in the distance as seen from Runyon this morning.

This oarfish has opened a door to a lot more questions in science. Normally, oarfish stay at greater depths, about 700-3000 feet below sea level. Therefore, finding one is uncommon, but not that uncommon.

Both oarfish found were already dead, so scientists wonder what happened. Did it die by starvation? Did it perish by being hunted? What else could have happened?

It seems like oarfish have been washing up from time to time recently: year-round recently. Two oarfish in 2013, one in 2010, and one in 1996.

If we had gigantic oxygen tanks, we could go deeper into the water and see what’s up the oarfish. However, since we don’t, we’re left with few options.

The option the scientists chose was to split it and send it to other scientists for study. Maybe then will we find the solution to the mystery, but until then, we have to stick with the clues.

Thanks Josh!  I hope you will share more of your articles with us.  You did a great job and your perspective from the divers eyes is a lot more eloquent than what I would have written it.  Mine would have just said, “It scared the poop out of me!”