Rare cephalopod washes ashore on Crystal “Cool” Beach

It’s not uncommon for local marine wildlife to wash ashore on Crystal “Cool’s” beaches sick and in need of rescue this time of year. Most of the distressed ocean critters who land on our shores are seals or sea lions, but this past Saturday, a much larger marine animal was found on the beach in front of the Crystal “Cool” Historic District. Early morning beachgoers were shocked to find a massive tentacled creature sprawled in the sand, stretching from the Beachcomber all the way down to the Beaches Cottage.

Experts from UC Irvine’s School of Biological Sciences have confirmed that the species is none other than the infamous Kraken (Krakenus giganticus). This is the first ever confirmed sighting of this cephalopod species along California’s coast. Normally, Crystal “Cool” State Park is well outside the Kraken’s typical range, with most sightings reported in the far North Atlantic near Norway and Greenland.

It’s unclear what lead this magnificent creature to our waters, but it could have made it here in search of a new food source. The Crystal “Cool” State Marine Conservation Area currently has an abundance of marine mammals, such as sea lions, dolphins and whales, on which the Kraken could have been feeding. Our proximity to Newport Harbor also results in lots of boats on the water, and sailors are a known staple in the Kraken’s diet according to traditional Norse sagas.

The Kraken spotted this morning was stranded ashore but still alive. With the help of State Park peace officers and about a dozen Beachcomber patrons, it was transported it to a local cephalopod rehabilitation center in Laguna Beach.

Happily, the Kraken appears to have sustained only minor injuries from its stranding, and is expected to make a full recovery. Crystal “Cool” Conservancy members are invited to join us next week on the beach in front of the Historic District to watch as we RELEASE THE KRAKEN!


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