Dammit dog, what part of 'Cheese!' don't you understand?
This is the 5.5-meter (~18-foot) giant oarfish a snorkeler spotted just offshore Catalina Island in California. It was dead. Giant Oarfish normally frequent depths as deep as a kilometer (~2/3 of a mile) and are only seen near the surface when sick and dying. Apparently a lot of sea monster tales are the result of oarfish. So -- you think oarfish are the real mermaids? Because that would suck. They don't even have boobs. Unless that's what the two guys in the red shorts near the head are holding, in which case, still, no thanks. "But they ARE smiling." I don't care, I wouldn't poke those tits with an elbow.
Thanks to Dave S and becca, who heard the Kraken story was actually started by a bunch of pirates who got drunk and were too embarrassed to admit they crashed their ship on a reef while joyriding.