When a giant squid appeared in the harbor, this man grabbed a camera and jumped in.

What do you imagine an encounter with a giant squid to be like?

Thunder crashes! Lightning flashes! Brave sailors fight the elements, only to be plucked away, screaming into the darkness, by gigantic, pitch-black tentacles.


Image from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"/YouTube.

That was my first impression of a giant squid: the unearthly monster that attacks Captain Nemo's ship in Jules Verne's classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

So what would make someone want to go swimming with one?!

GIF via fukusuke234/YouTube.

On Christmas Eve, a 12-foot-long giant squid was found swimming near some boats in Toyama Bay in Honshu, Japan. Akinobu Kimura, the owner of a local diving shop and a diver himself, grabbed a camera and jumped in alongside it.

"My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and [got] close to it," Kimura told CNN.

"This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea."

No thunder and lightning here — their encounter ended peacefully.

GIF via ANNnewsCH/YouTube.

In real life, giant squid are far from the horrible monster of Jules Verne's book.

We can learn a bit from the fact that Kimura survived unscathed, but we actually don't know that much about the animal.

Giant squid are incredibly rare. Though there are stories about similar creatures going back to Aristotle, it wasn't until 2006 that someone actually caught a live one on video. And someone finally filmed one in its natural habit in 2012.

The reason? They just don't live where we live.

Giant squid prefer to stay deep under the ocean, where they eat deep-sea fish and other squid species. Much of the evidence we have of them is little more than the scars on squid-eating sperm whales.

Image from NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

It seems impossible for such a big animal to remain hidden for so long, but it just goes to show how vast the ocean really is.

Kimura's squid was 12 feet long, which sounds quite large, but the biggest ever recorded measured well over 40 feet. They're not the only mega-sized mollusks down there, either. The colossal squid of Antarctica may get even more massive. It could weigh more than half a ton — that's about two giant squid put together!

Our oceans are incredible places, and we've barely begun to explore them. Even though ocean covers nearly three-quarters of the Earth's surface, 95% of it remains unexplored. Is it any surprise that it still holds such mystery?

“With its untold depths, couldn't the sea keep alive such huge specimens of life from another age, this sea that never changes while the land masses undergo almost continuous alteration? Couldn't the heart of the ocean hide the last–remaining varieties of these titanic species, for whom years are centuries and centuries millennia?”
— Jules Verne, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"

Perhaps Kimura's footage is reminder that it's not really our planet after all. It's theirs.

I mean, do you really want to argue with this:

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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