Beachgoers in New Zealand were in for a rude awakening when they noticed that a giant sea “monster” washed up on shore in the country’s Auckland Region. While the object in question looked to be something out of an H.P. Lovecraft fever dream, the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society reassured people that it’s a natural occurrence, so no sea creature uprising is on the horizon.
The weird “creature” washed up on Muriwai Beach, which is on the west coast of the Auckland Region in the country. It was discovered by Melissa Doubleday, who snapped some pictures and asked around in a Facebook group. Scientists were quick to point out the object was merely a piece of driftwood that was covered in gooseneck barnacles. Additionally, the Australian Museum noted that gooseneck barnacles usually attach themselves to wharves, piers and any floating objects that pass by them in the sea.
Interestingly, gooseneck barnacles are considered delicacies in Portugal and Spain, where they are called percebes. These businesses can charge upwards of $106 a plate — a hefty price to pay for a sea monster. But before New Zealand beachgoers bring their fork and knife to the beach, they may want to hold off, for Doubleday told Mashable the object on Muriwai Beach smelled pretty bad.