[Kraken, from Wikimedia]
Old sailors may have gotten a bad press. Just because you have a reputation for tall tales and rum imbibing doesn't mean you didn't meet the legendary Kraken.
Of course, in these politically correct days, the sailors would have to refer to the monster politely as Ms Giant Squid, but you get the idea.
There's nothing so weird that it mightn't just have a basis in reality.
[Photo by Locutus Borg, National Museum, Madrid, Wikimedia Commons]