If you need another example of how cool Mother Nature truly is, look no further than a video taken by a Taiwanese diver of an encounter with an extremely rare giant oarfish during a recent swim off the coast of Ruifang. The fish, which is only usually seen when one washes up dead on a beach, is said to be a “doomsday fish” as it’s rumored to be a sign of an upcoming earthquake. However, it’s likely this is just a really amazing sighting of a fascinating creature, albeit with a slightly bittersweet twist.
Oarfish usually live deep in the water, so diving instructor Wang Cheng-Ru says that seeing one up close likely means the fish won’t live much longer. It probably swam up to shallower waters because it’s on the verge of death, in fact. The giant oarfish in question had holes all over its body, likely the result of an attack from a shark or other predator. It could be that those injuries have contributed to its poor health, but that’s uncertain.
The Japanese superstition that the oarfish is a harbinger of an earthquake is said to have little basis in reality. Mythology claims that it will come from where it lives beneath the water — which can be as deep as 3,200 feet below the surface of the ocean — and beach itself as a warning of the future tremor. That’s very likely untrue.
“There is no scientific evidence of a connection, so I don’t think people need to worry,” insisted Hiroyuki Motomura, a professor of ichthyology at Kagoshima University. “I believe these fish tend to rise to the surface when their physical condition is poor, rising on water currents, which is why they are so often dead when they are found.”
Either way, this is an incredible experience these divers will likely never forget.