Did the Kraken come to visit little boys and girls in Japan on Christmas Eve to leave coal in their stockings for eating sushi? No, but a real giant squid did and a video camera operator just happened to be there to capture this extremely rare sighting as a Christmas gift to the rest of the world.
The giant squid (Architeuthis) was spotted by people on a pier in Toyama Bay on Honshu, Japan’s main island. This specimen was small for a giant squid, measuring an estimated 3.7 meters (12.1 feet) long. Female giant squids are larger than the males and can reach 13 meters (43 feet) in length.
The size didn’t disappoint the witnesses who knew they were very privileged to be seeing this event. It was only in 2004 that the first photograph was taken of a live giant squid in nature and not until 2012 was a live giant squid captured on video.
The giant squid swam close to the surface as well as underneath boats in Toyama Bay for several hours. That was long enough for someone to record it using a submersible camera, possibly only the third time a live giant squid has been filmed. Even better, the owner of a local dive shop had time to put on some gear and jump in with the squid.
Akinobu Kimura, owner of Diving Shop Kaiyu, managed to get up-close and personal with the creature before he realized what he was doing.
My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and go close to it. This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward to the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea.
Yuki Ikushi, the curator of Uozu Aquarium in Uozu, Toyama, said that while giant squids are occasionally caught in fishing nets in deep water, they’re rarely seen in the shallow waters of the marina.
Whatever the reason why this Kraken showed up, it was a great Christmas present for the people who had the opportunity to see it.