These two divers found themselves dwarfed by a deep-sea worm measuring more than 26 feet long and made up of hundreds of thousands of organisms.

Longtime friends Steve Hathaway, 56, and Andrew Buttle, 48, were diving off the coast of Whakaari, the stratovolcano on White Island, New Zealand, last month when they discovered the gelatinous worm.

A PAIR of shocked divers found themselves dwarfed by a monster deep-sea worm measuring more than 8 metres long and looking just like a giant windsock. Photo / Caters
A PAIR of shocked divers found themselves dwarfed by a monster deep-sea worm measuring more than 8 metres long and looking just like a giant windsock. Photo / Caters

The worm can be seen moving delicately through the water, occasionally shuddering and pulsating whilst the divers swim gently around it to not disturb it.

At a depth of around 32 feet, the organism slowly travelled around 656 feet, taking on many different shapes and sizes.

The bizarre organism took on several different shapes and sizes. Photo / Caters
The bizarre organism took on several different shapes and sizes. Photo / Caters
The divers could not believe their eyes when the first spotted the sea worm. Photo / Caters
The divers could not believe their eyes when the first spotted the sea worm. Photo / Caters

Andrew, a pilot by day, said: "Having never seen one in person or even footage or photos of one before, I was quite incredulous and elated that such a creature existed.

"It was very puzzling but also fantastic to be able to view it right up close and spend so much time with it.

"The island is 48km from the mainland, and there is a vast amount of fish life and nutrients in the water that may have had the right circumstances to become so large.

"I believe it is possibly a Pyrosome - occasionally they are caught in nets but not many intact large specimens have been caught to my knowledge.

"At times there can be blooms of thousands of small versions of these creatures in many parts of the world, but not something I had ever seen before."

The true size of the suspected Pyrosome was revealed when it reached the surface. Photo / Caters
The true size of the suspected Pyrosome was revealed when it reached the surface. Photo / Caters

Steve, who founded Young Ocean Explorers, an educational entertainment platform encouraging children to explore the world's oceans, said: "Without a doubt the highlight of the trip was to find the pyrosome - I've wanted to see one for many years now.

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The bizarre creature was made up of hundreds of thousands of organisms. Photo / Caters
The bizarre creature was made up of hundreds of thousands of organisms. Photo / Caters

"The ocean is such a fascinating place and much more fascinating to explore when you actually understand some of what you see, such as the different behaviours."

Andrew inherited the active volcanic island from his late grandfather, who only managed to visit his purchase from the government for half an hour.

Andrew (L) and Steve in front of the active volcano Andrew inherited from his grandfather. Photo / Caters
Andrew (L) and Steve in front of the active volcano Andrew inherited from his grandfather. Photo / Caters

To find out more about daily tours to White island by sea or helicopter visit: www.whiteislandnz.com

To support Steve in educating the next generation of Ocean Explorers visit: www.youngoceanexplorers.com

- With Caters