What was your first cephlopod Encounter

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by DWhatley, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I have seen several asides with interesting stories of ceph keepers first encounters (or encounters that always bring a personal smile). These stories have been both informative and entertaining so all who are willing, please share in this collection.
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I will include my rather boring story just to encourage others :wink:

    I was roughly 13 and on vacation in the FL keys with my parents. Key vacations consisted primarily of spending the day on an old rented boat (least expensive we could find with a canopy), hoping my dad really did know where the land was and finding interesting places to snorkle. On this particular adventure mother found a rather large chunck of what later turned out to be dead brain coral and insisted she had to have it for the yard (please remember this was over 40 years ago). Dad struggled with the thing for 20 minutes but got her prize on the boat :roll: . The trips back to the islands were always boring (except when we weren't sure if dad really knew where the land was) so sun burnt and tired I was daydreaming while staring at the "rock". Seeing that first white arm wiggle up and over the top still makes me grin! Eventually the whole critter came into view while I tried to quietly (remember, I was 13 and excited so quiet is relative) get everyone's attention. I scooped him up and put him and some water in my mask then covered him with my shirt. I was soooo excited and tried to figure out how I was going to keep him. Fortunately for the octopus, I took my eyes off of the mask while I was designing his new home and he disappeared. I searched the entire boat, no little octopus. Heartbroken, I settled back down and stared back at the rock. Another set of arms appeared but these were black, spikey and ugly compared to my little octopus. Only in recent times did I realize the second critter was a brittle star fish and you could never have convinced me I would have either of these two critters later in life. The "rock" is still in my parents front yard.
     
  3. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    What a cool story! Aren't you(now)glad he did escape? :wink:
     
  4. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    That is a VERY cool story! Thanks for sharing. I've never been to the ocean so I have no stories :(
     
  5. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    My first experience with a ceph was in the aquarium where I now work! I was about 9 or so and my school had a trip to the aquarium (which was only open at the weekends or school holidays then, unless you were a school!) The curator at the time had the octopus in a bucket and asked for volunteers to "shake it's hand" I was rather shy (yes REALLY!) and although I was dying to be the volunteer wouldn't put myself forward, no one else wanted to go near it but the person standing behind me gave me a shove and so I got to be the "volunteer" :grin: after that I was hooked!

    J
     
  6. pipsquek

    pipsquek Wonderpus Supporter

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    My first encounter with an octopus was during a night dive at Commercial Pier near Fort Lauderdale while lobster hunting. We were pretty close to the pier, and I turned my light to point under a coral head. It was already sliding into a crevasse before I realized what it was. It turned really blue for a second and pretty much dissappeared. My dive partner tried to lure him out, but to no avail.

    Years later, I was having really fantastic dive in a reef pass around Rarotonga. It was pretty close to sunset, so some of the noturnal creatures were venturing forth. I saw a least a dozen lionfish, a couple of crabs, and a white tip reef shark. I was heading back to the beach, thinking to myself "The only thing that could make this any better would be to see an octopus." Not twenty feet later, I saw one slinking into a hole in the top of a coral. He seemed pretty pissed when I was hovering over his hole, so I left him alone pretty quickly. Two minutes later I saw another one!! That was one of the best dives of my life so far.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Sorceress,
    You obviously picked up on the "fortunately" part. Not only because I had no way to keep it alive until we got home, no prepared tank but in those days, I am not even sure there was a way to make your own salt water from tap water let alone an idea of LR or filtering or ...

    Animal Mother,
    So were you visiting one at your LFS and an octopus just climbed out and grabbed you (physically or mentally). Something played the gotcha role. Anything counts the was sort of the "hook" that eventually caused you to want one of your own. Hopefully you will unshelter yourself and experience some underwater time :wink:

    Pipsquek,
    I envy that dive! I have never seen an octopus, a seahorse or a lion fish (they were not in US waters until recently I believe) in the water. I am sure the first two were present but I have never seen them (maybe that is why I keep all three :wink: ) Are you bringing Big Red to the convention again (I am hoping to attend and saw last the last convention video of your beauty) or is it just too far to safely haul him? I looked at your home page and noticed that you are originally from my neck of the woods :smile: so thought you might be thinking about a trip this way enroute to the show?
     
  8. Lev

    Lev O. bimaculoides Registered

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    My first experience with an octopus is on my 13th birthday. Me and my parents were vacationing in Cuba, and we rented a car and drove to this "abandoned beach" place. It was really unkept and there was Sargassum everywhere. A great place for exploring. There was a rocky reef in about 12 inches of water, so I decided to snorkel around there. There were many Tripneustes Urchins around, and then I saw it. There were two eyes looking up at me from the rocks. I called my parents over to see also. Then he extended one arm and moved into another burrow. I watched him for nearly an hour. That was the first time I had seen an octopus in the wild.

    Last year I had a lot of encounters with Octopi, in the same place, Cuba also. I could easily tell where an octopus was hiding because you could see their midden piles. I saw about 5 in an area roughly the size of a football field about 5-6 feet deep.
     
  9. flamingo

    flamingo Cuttlefish Registered

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    When I was 6 my family went up to "honeymoon island" in Florida. it's a pretty remote place that they only allow a cetain amount of people on per day. Well, my dad started screaming for us so we ran over. He was trying to catch a baby octopus (some type of pink one) and he was having a lot of trouble lol. He finally grabbed the poor little thing- and it shot water at his eye :). Needless to say my dad almost fell over and the octo escaped. It was great.
     
  10. erich orser

    erich orser Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    The whole family was snorkling in Hanama Bay in early January of 1982 after having spent Christmas at Bellows Beach in a cabin over the 1981 Christmas vacation. We were flying from Oahu back to mainland (Travis AFB) a day or two later, so this was my last chance in the water for a very long time. Our snorkling guide pointed out to something moving across the sand between two walls of coral. Upon realizing that it was a small octopus, I instinctively went for it, not remembering that I was wearing a snorkle, not a scuba tank, so Sorseress had to grab me and pull me away for fear that I'd drown myself. I believe this caused her to collide with some coral, which most likely sliced her a bit. I remember later that she had a number of these little slices. Most likely my childish over-enthusiasm and her motherly overprotective instincts were to account for these.

    My previous octopus encounters had all been at either the Steinhardt Aquarium with Stretch, their o. dofleini, or a tiny octopus in a pet store in Dale City, Virginia a few years earlier.
     
  11. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I wonder if we ever were staring for hours at Stretch at the same time; that was one of my favorite activities as a child. Steinhardt's GPOs and Cousteau films were my only ceph experiences for quite a while, then the Monterey aquarium and one glimpsed in some tidepools near Carmel, then finally I found that twilight SCUBA dives off SoCal let me encounter 2 small octos, probably bimacs, which was great... I got in a tug-of-war with a stick with one of the two I saw, but otherwise there's not much of a colorful story... I'd love to dive with cuttles (esp Apama) or sepioteuthis sometime...
     
  12. corw314

    corw314 Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    This thread is great! I am fascinated to read all the different first encounters. Unfortunately, I have never seen an octopus in the wild. 40 years ago, a family next door had a brandy sniffer full of those dwarf seahorses. They used to walk to the beach every day and get fresh salt water for them. That was my first introduction to the idea that saltwater creatures could live in your home. I had to be 8 years old at the time.

    Took me to be in my 20's before I actually learned you could mix saltwater on your own and have a tank. My LFS has been around for over 50 years. I remember walking in, browsing all the salt and freshwater tanks and coming across this little blob inside a jar with holes in the lid. (Metal lid, actually). I just fell in love! Been fascinated ever since. I think I have had the pleasure of having probably 15 or more octopuses in my home over the years. One of my favorites was a Bimac, that lasted a year. He lived in a 20 gal. tank with and undergravel filter with powerheads and that was it. I am amazed he survived knowing what I know now.
     
  13. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    My girlfriend and I are hoping to take a vacation this Spring, somewhere in the Caribbean, where I will do some snorkeling and get some first-hand experience, hopefully involving some sort of Octopus. The earliest memory I have of an Octopus would be the Popeye movie with Robin Williams. Of course it was given a rather unrealistic, menacing character. I have my friend Darrell to thank for inspiring me to look into keeping one in a tank, which led me into this hobby, and to this site.
     
  14. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Rescue at Sea

    I was envisioning a wild rescue with Sorseress wildly grabbing the snorkel away from the octopus while being thrashed against the coral. Upon rereading, however, I think the scene was equally as paniced but not as I fantasized.:wink:
     
  16. pipsquek

    pipsquek Wonderpus Supporter

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    I have hauled that hunk of copper around a lot lately, and I hope that I only have to do it two more times: once from the gallery to my shop to permantly attach it to the rock, and then off to a nice home (which I will disclose as soon as it goes through). I am not sure I will attend TONMOcon II at this point as I am going to Japan at the end of March and am pretty tied up financially until I sell something. I don't really care to go back East more that I really have to anyway, kinda fond of the left coast, and pretty sick of the endless stripmalls and tract housing around where I grew up.
     
  17. joefish84

    joefish84 Sepia elegans Registered

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    mine was with reef squid and octopus in the bahamas a few years back. all were very curious. the squid kinda would rush me then swim back fast just to check me out. the octopus i first encountered was while i was spear fishing. he was following me around watching me spear lobsters in the cracks. eventually he figured out that if i went down and looked into a crack and pulled back my spear that there would be something tasty on the end and he proceeded to go in before i could get the lobster out and took it(go figure).
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    joefish,
    THAT must have been a terrific dive even if you didn't get dinner! It is not as strange as you might imagine though. I had a seahorse and mandarin that did the same thing. The horse watched the mandarin because she would scare shrimp out of the rock. The mandarin watched the horse and saw what it ate. I have never had others do this but it was very evident. I still have the mandarin and she taught her new mate what to eat in a very short amount of time but she has never paid attention to any of the other seahorses. She lives with 4 seahorses and two pipefish but totally ignores these so there must be something we don't see that determines when an amimal will observe and learn and when it pays no attention. I read a thread where Roy Caldwell mentioned that octopuses may not be as smart as we think, especially when it comes to learning from observing and I wonder if the example you gave (immediate learning) and the observation I made with different animals suggest that we are missing a key factor on aquatic animal behavior.
     
  19. erich orser

    erich orser Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    Do you remember a slightly younger (I think) kid with an annoying high-pitched voice babbling on and on about the manner in which Stetch was collected, where he was found, his arm-span, and how great octopus really are to the World? That would have been me. If you don't remember almost-involuntary violent impulses toward a wild-eyed, ceph-obsessed psycho-child, then we probably didn't meet. Main source of the bullying at school back then (before I started earning it): octopus-worship.

    By the way, Stretch was found in a toilet in a bank in San Francisco when the tip of his suckered-arm was protruding from the hole at the bottom of the bowl. Terrified a female patron (it was the ladies' room - made the local news), and then, when they arrived, Steinhardt scientists proceeded to pull Stretch out of said Ladies' Room toilet inch after inch after inch, until finally they had a complete giant octopus. He lived at the Steinhardt on display for a couple years more. All I can say is basically, that initial contactee ought to have felt honoured .But by then Stretch cemented my belief in the ultimate coolness of cephalopods, so I might be a wee bit prejudiced this way. The funny, or horrifying thing is that while the unnamed "victim" was urinating, something reached-up and suckered onto her nether parts. That's how Stretch was discovered, at least according to my remembered news stories from KRON ("KRON is Coming Home" - NBC affiliate) in SF, and the staff at the Steinhardt that used to humor this ceph-obsessed little fanatic. Maybe there was something wrong with me as a child, but a combination giant octopus (he ultimately developed quite a considerable arm-span - ask Monty) and toilet humor for a naughty little kid like me - bullseye. If I hadn't already been a ceph-fanatic by then (I was) then this certainly cemented it nonetheless.

    Incidentally, Stretch appeared in the bank toilet after one of our major winter storms. I'm wondering if with things mixed-up from the influx of fresh water due to the storms, wildlife beneath the waves got stirred-up, and perhaps one of our N. Californian green morays might have chased young Stretch up the sewers and plumbing to get him there. The news footage of the tip of a coiled tentacle - very much alive - reaching up out of the bottom of a toilet bowl will most assuredly stay with me for my lifetime. Does anybody else have any info that'll clarify all this?

    Oh well, God Bless!
     

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