Mysterious Giant creatures of the ocean

During the history there were so many tales from sailors about giant animals in unknown seas, about disappearing islands, islands where these sailors really were but you will never find them on maps. But on some of the medieval maps you can find enourmous creatures as big as island. Sailors knew places were you can meet these creatures. Of course nowadays can people say that all these sailors where only drunk or have from different reasons delusions. Anyhow, the truth is that oceans and seas are still a big mystery for us. We still didn´t explore all of their depths, thus we can´t know what everything is there. Maybe also the gigantic sea creature called Zaratan.

Zaratan is usually described as a gigantic turtle (or fish), which is passive and floating on the open ocean.  During this float is Zaratan sleeping, it is sleeping long enough that on its back start grow vegetation.  Some of these creatures have back like rough stones but usually their back looks like island. Sand beach, rocks, trees, grass, everything is there. This giant creature with slowly moving and long sleeping can be awaken by the fire. When sailors get to the island and during the evening light the fire on the monsters back, monster will awake and sinks to the ocean. The ship of sailors is also drag down and sailors usually drowned.

Of course many sailors survived and could tell to us story about giant island like monster. The mention of its existence could be find also in story of Sinbad.

„(...) we heard a cry from the captain, who was still abord the ship. (...) ´leave everything! This is not an island, it is a great fish, which has floated on the surface of the sea since the creation! Sand and silt have gathered on its back, and trees have grown there, but now it feels the heat of your fires. (...) Flee!´“

Sinbad the Sailor (Myths and Legends), autor: Phil Masters

Another similar creature is Jasconius describe more as a giant fish or whale, which was also know in medieval times. This creature was so big that it overturned enormous ships which were durable also against the huge storms. Jasconius can be find for example in the Legend of Saint Brendan. St. Brendan was an Irish cleric who with eighteen other monks sailed from Ireland in search of the Garden of Eden. Similiarly as in stories of Zaratan, men thought that Jasconius was an treeless island and make camp. The legend said that men celebrated on Jasconius Easter but creature was awaken by the campfire.

Another experience had also Alexander the Great in India. Similarly as the rest of the mention he and his men thought that there is an island in the sea. His men went on the island because there should be a hidden treasure of dead king. The land after hour sank and after few days Alexander saw the huge beast about which he originaly thought was an island.

Another note can be found in Bestiaries and Lapidaries by L. Oscar Kuhns who gave us informations from Guillaume le Clerc who wrote that „in the sea (...) there is one monster,  very treacherous and dangerous. In Latin its name is Cetus. It is a bad neighbor for sailors. The upper part of its back looks like sand, and when it rises from the sea, the mariners think it is an island. (...) When the monster feel the heat of the fire which burns upon its back, it plunges down into the depths of the sea.“

Some informations and notes can be find in the Pliny the Elder´s Natural History, who informed about the giant fish, which he called Pristis.

Except of form sailors and historians left to us informations that these creatures are attracting fish by opening mouth, from which winds sweet smell and when is its mouth full, closes and eats prey. Also it makes sounds similar as a whale.

Many people believed that all those legendary islands were on the back of these huge, giant creatures. But there are also people who don´t believe in existence of these creatures. You may also think that something like mentioned giant creatures can´t actually exist but seas and oceans are full of giants as whales, giant sea serpents and also giant octopuses. One of those about which we know have more that 10 metres in length and one recordman have weight about 5 tons. But all these giants are living in depths thus its problem to watching them in their environment. We have informations about them when they are washed up from the sea, or when they manage to film by the scientists but is not as often as we want. So we still don´t know what everything is under water or in remote parts of the oceans. All of the oceans and seas and bays make up more then 70% of the Earth´s surface, so there is enough place for Zaratan, Jasconius or something bigger...

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