MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Robert Benz and his buddies were fishing Sunday about 12 miles offshore from Port Salerno when they spotted something floating in the water.
"We pulled up... thought it was something to fish on, a pallet or something like that. We looked at it, all three of us were like 'holy mackerel,' " recalled Benz.
It turned out to be a 23-foot long giant squid. It's a rare find in our waters. The main part of the body was about 11-feet long, but with its two long tentacles, it barely fit in the 23-foot boat Benz was riding in. But he knew they had to bring it ashore.
"Nobody believes a fisherman," said Benz. "It didn't seem it had been dead long, the tentacles were still moving and it was sticking to you when we got it in.
Photo courtesy: Alex Kuze
So what is it about the squid that makes us a little squeamish?
Ellie Van Os, Director of Education and Exhibits at the Florida Oceanographic Society, says it's not common to see a squid of that size.
"It's foreign to imagine that there's an animal with 8 arms and 2 tentacles that are twice as long as the arms and their mouth is in the middle of their arms... and big eyes."
As for where the giant squid is now, it was transported to the FWRI lab in Tequesta and is now in possession of the Florida Museum of Natural History.
(Story reflects correction as to where the squid was taken)