The ocean is home to an incredible number of strange organisms. Scientists exploring the cold, dark depths discover new species all the time, and fishermen occasionally bring up odd critters thought to be long extinct. Some are so weird we like to think they may be from another planet. Bill, a friend of mine, who lives a dozen miles from Rocky Point on Playa Dorada, called me up one morning and announced a sea monster was on the beach in front of his house and to come quick. This was by no means the first time he’d summoned me to help identify mysterious creatures, so I took a shower, had breakfast, got the car washed and hurried right over.

BILL: What do you think that is, Cap’n Greg?

CAP’N GREG: The front half of a sea lion.

BILL: Are you sure it’s not an alien of some kind?

CAP’N GREG: No more alien than the rear half of a seal that washed up here last month.

BILL: Are you saying its ready not possible this is some kind of super rare animal that humans have seen only once or twice?

CAP’N GREG: You mean like Big Foot in that grainy home movie of a guy in a monkey suit running through the bushes? Or the Loch Ness Monster made of inner tubes and plywood? Or a chupacabra that’s really a sun-dried coyote?

BILL: Good point.

CAP’N GREG: Also, I might suggest, if you were cut in half by a boat propeller and your upper half was rotting, shark-chewed and covered in sea gull poop, you’d look kind of otherworldly, too.

BILL: A sea lion, huh?

CAP’N GREG: That’s my guess.

BILL: Are they any good to eat?

CAP’N GREG: Probably to sharks and scavengers like gulls. Why?

BILL: There has to be some practical use for it, whatever it is.

CAP’N GREG: You could put a sign on the highway: GET YOUR PHOTO TAKEN WITH A REAL SEA MONSTER! And have an arrow pointing this way.

BILL: How much should I charge?

CAP’N GREG: If someone’s gullible enough to follow the arrow, I’d ask for 20 bucks a head. And maybe sell three-for-$5 sea monster tacos while you’re at it.

BILL: You’re chock full of great marketing ideas, Cap’n Greg.

CAP’N GREG: Well, I’m chock full of something, Bill.