His adrenaline was sky high as he reeled his catch onto the boat. He stepped closer, excited to see what he caught but his excitement soon turned to absolute disgust. “What the heck is that?!”, he yelled.
He needed help. After seeing his leg, his friend turned the boat around and raced back to shore. Matt kept his eye on the creature in the holding container. What did he get himself into? And more importantly, what had it done to him?
Born and raised in Coney Island, Matt Tanner loved nothing more than to fish with his friends out among the clean and crisp air of the Atlantic ocean.
As an accountant who worked in an office every day, he cherished the time he spent outdoors, especially when that involved the ocean. For him, the ocean felt like home, somewhere that’s safe and familiar. Little did he know, there’d be nothing familiar about this fishing trip.
Matt scoffed down some breakfast before leaving to meet his friend Dave for their usual Saturday morning fishing trip together. They met at the harbour and made their way onto Matt’s boat.
From there, they set off from Coney Island, Brooklyn into the wild Atlantic ocean. It was a beautiful summer’s day. A day that would be too hot on land, but out on the boat with the cool ocean breeze, it was perfect!
They fished in comfortable silence while chiming in to talk every now and then. WIth a cold drink in his hand and a cool wind blowing in his face, Matt knew exactly why fishing was his favorite way to cool down during the summer months.
But just as he was about to take another swig, his line started to move. “Got one!”, he yelled. He fought with the fish valiantly until it tired and reeled it aboard. But what he caught was no ordinary creature.
Matt reeled in his line, realizing his arms were a little tired from the catch but his adrenaline was still running high. He hoisted his catch onto the boat but when the horrifying sight of his catch came into view, he jumped back in shock.
“Dude! what is that thing?” Matt yelled as he stared reluctantly at the alien-looking fish. He had never seen something like this before… and for good reason.
Matt’s friend got up from his fishing post and came over to have a look. His face turned from curiosity to disgust. “That looks terrible! I have never seen that before! What is it?”, Dave replied.
The creature looked like a mixture of a squid and octopus with its big bulbous head and tentacles. But if it was one or the other, it was born with some kind of genetic mutation. In fact, from another angle, its three teticles looked like three legs and it had slits for gills. Alarmed, Matt acted fast.
He couldn’t just stare at it all day so he quickly took a video and some pictures of the strange creature and posted it online. He asked people on social media if they had any idea what this was.
He carefully popped the creature into a holding container and waited for an identification. But as he waited, he noticed he suddenly began to feel really strange. Then he spotted something on his leg.
Matt got a fright as he looked at his red and swollen leg. At the center was a small spot. It looked like something bit him. He looked at the mysterious creature and realized he really had no idea what he was dealing with.
Dave looked at Matt’s leg and immediately turned the boat around. Matt needed help and Dave had no first aid training. His heart pounded as he raced to the shore.
It wasn’t long before Matt reached a doctor. He was having an allergic reaction and was given an allergy shot. He was told to return home and rest for the rest of the day.
But later that evening, there was a knock on his door. Matt was surprised to see the FBI waiting for him. Confused, Matt asked if he could help them. Their answer left him scrambling for his phone.
They wanted to know about the creature he posted online. Matt completely forgot about his post after his medical emergency – which had now gone completely viral.
Numerous people called the FBI to report the alien creature. The FBI asked to see more photos and gather more information before asking for the specimen itself. Matt began to realize the seriousness of his find.
Matt raced toward his phone and called Dave who had taken care of the boat and creature after they left the doctors office. He asked Dave to bring the creature to him but there was a problem.
Dave released it back into the wild with fears that it was too dangerous and poisonous to keep around after what happened to Matt. The FBI left with as much information as Matt could give after telling Matt what they thought he actually caught.
Although it was difficult to make out what the creature was from Matt’s post online, the other photos as well as Matt’s description and leg injury left the FBI to believe he caught a Clearnose Skate.
A fish that is very rare for the area. In fact, it was the first time the community had seen one being caught in their waters. But when Matt read the comments on his post, other people had different ideas about what it was.
A lot of people online suspected that it was an extraterrestrial being that was never seen before. Others jokingly remarked it was Dart from Stranger Things.
But as Matt read through the comments, he realized that only 2 people had identified the creature for what it actually was. At least he knew he and Dave weren’t the only ones who had never seen one before. But what about his leg? Was it dangerous?
The Clearnose Skate gets its name from the transparent area of skin on either side of its pointed ‘nose’. And although Clearnose Skates may look dangerous and creepy, they don’t possess venomous barbs like stingrays – but they do have sharp thorns on the tops of their tails.
They use their tails to strike others when they feel threatened which is exactly what must have happened Matt. But unfortunately, Matt was allergic to them.
With his newfound knowledge of the species. Matt decided to update his post and let the online community know what they were looking at. He also let them know how loud their whispers were that the FBI showed up on his doorstep!
His information was welcomed but also came as a surprise to locals of the area.
The waters off Coney Island are no stranger to aquatic life. The area has a huge diversity of wildlife that ranges from crabs and fish to sharks and whales and all the inbetween.
It’s good to know that the ocean’s wildlife seems to continue to grow, even though the threat of global warming is looming over the horizon. But thanks to the state’s continued effort to decrease ocean pollution, these species continue to reclaim the area.