Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
Erika Owen
December 13, 2016

People pay a lot of money to eat the barnacles you see attached to this incredibly strange product of the sea.

But that wasn't clear to Facebook user Melissa Doubleday, who shared a few shots of the mass with the local Facebook group Muriwai & Waimauku Area Community to try and figure out what exactly she was looking at.

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

The answer was pretty surprising. The actual mass is most likely driftwood with hundreds of gooseneck barnacles attached. But about those barnacles: people in Portugal and Spain consider them delicacies and spend lots of dough to eat a plate of them—we're talking upwards of 100 euros a plate in some restaurants.

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Local Rani Timoti shared a few words about the driftwood discovery with Stuff: “This is the biggest one I've seen. It's got a putrid smell when you're down wind and when you look closely, it looks like wiggling worms,” she said. “Since the photos were posted, people have been visiting what they're now calling the “Muriwai Monster.”

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