So welcome to our new slice of blog, between two dive pros. Where Nicolle and I bat scuba thoughts and ideas back and forward, just like we have been doing for years.
We thought we’d kick off with Octopus! We love these awesome creatures so here you go….
What types of octopus do you have in your waters?
Georgia: Teeny tiny ones compared to Nicolle 🙂
Nicolle: We have two different kinds, the East Pacific Red Octopus and the Giant Pacific Octopus commonly referred to as a GPO. The little red octos only grow to about 15-20 inches whereas the GPO is the largest of the octo species with a recorded GPO weighing in at 600lbs with a 30 FOOT arm span. Normally we see GPOs that are 5-15’ which is why I am terribly bad at spotting warm water octos…they are too small! 🙂
How do you find them while diving?
Georgia: They are around the reef. You can normally spot a den, or remnants of a meal.
Nicolle: We look for a bright white shell trail outside of rocky den. Octos like to bring food home and when they’re done, they jettison the shells outside their den. It’s like walking down a hotel hallway and spotting cleaned off white room service dish piles outside doors.
What are the behaviors of your local octos?
Georgia: In Costa Rica everything here is very Pura Vida, especially the underwater life. During different times of the year you see them out and about more, which I believe is mating time. I have to check but I seem to recall it is about June/July/August time.
Nicolle: Octos are typically more active at night which makes diving in the PNW even better for octo sightings throughout the day as well since we lose topside ambient sunlight at shallower depths due to all the life floating in our waters. When octopus aren’t curled up in their dens sleeping or aerating eggs, I would describe them as inquisitive.
What are interesting octo facts you typically share with divers?
Georgia: They’re squishy? They are though. They can fit through tiny spaces which is very amazing. If I want to come across as slightly more impressive then I may tell them about the three hearts and 50 kidneys but since finding Dory came out I feel that people know more about octos anyway. (please note 50 kidneys is a bit of a stretch, its 40 right?)
Nicolle: I also try to share info with divers that I don’t think they may know such as: octo beaks are made out of the same substance as our fingernails (keratin); larger GPOs can lift an object weighing up to 35lbs with a single large sucker; octos have blue blood; and male octos have one arm longer than the others which they use to transfer sperm when mating. In some cephalopods these arms are detachable…(King Missile song inspiration anyone?).
What’s one of your most memorable octo sightings or interactions?
Georgia: I have watched Octopus getting chased across a reef by a scorpion fish. I am not too sure obviously of the context of the fight. Clearly I am not versed in Octopus or scorpion fish language. Feeling that maybe the scorpion fish had found the Octopus coming out of someone else’s den and was rather upset. They felt they could do better so subsequently was chasing the octopus around to vent their frustrations. No, really, I saw that. I was just thinking about that as more amusing than just chasing around whilst competing for food.
Nicolle: I had free descended on a wall with my dive buddy to 120’ at a site called Rosie’s Ravine in Hood Canal (WA USA). Being that deep in the PNW it’s dark and we immediately spot this massive octopus completely out in the open on a boulder. I stopped about 5’ above it, my arms reaching out, just mesmerized. I even thought it was staring back at me when all of sudden I notice one arm appeared to be rising up toward me, and it was!
Then I noticed that another arm was starting to do the same thing! TWO of its tentacles were unfurling upward directly to my outreached arms! Closer, closer, closer, and just when I thought we were going to touch, my dive buddy flashed his light at me frantically signaling it was time to go, so I waved goodbye and reluctantly started my ascent. What a moment. I love being a diver!