Posts Tagged ‘giant squid’

squid caGet out your dive gear, fishing gear or marinara sauce.  The Giant Squids have fulfilled their promise of “I’ll be back!” showing up in huge numbers on the California coast off Newport Beach.  These charismatic cephalopods are averaging 30 lbs each, but some are up to 60 lbs.  That’s enough calamari in one animal to feed a family of 5 for a week, and still have some left over to pair with linguini for a Saturday snack.  Anglers have caught 400 of the beasts so far, though far greater numbers are still out in the ocean.

Though the name ‘Giant Squid’ elicits visions of huge sea monsters with a chip on their shoulders and a bloodthirsty appetite, the official name of these beauties is Humboldt Squid (far less menacing, I grant you.) They can grow up to 100 pounds and 6 feet long.  They follow their food sources through the ocean, which explains their appearance on the west coast.  The squid have also recently been spotted off San Diego, Oregon and Washington.

NOAA via AP

NOAA via AP

This past Monday some scientists were floating along in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast, when they realized, “Hey. We might have something bigger than a sardine in our trawling net.” The giant squid they caught was pretty surprised too, since the rapid rise to the surface caused him to leave this earth and go to that great ocean in the sky where curious scientists and the word “calamari” don’t exist.

After celebrating the life and death of this rare creature with marinara and a deep fryer, the scientists then brined it like a pickle and shipped it off to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History where it will sit on a dusty shelf for all eternity next to Bigfoot and the New Jersey Devil. Though the published story did not elaborate on the mail delivery method, I have to imagine the act of filling out the UPS packing slip was an exercise in creative writing:

Contents: 1 Suckered Sea Monster
Weight: 103 pounds, but dehydrating by the minute
Special Delivery Instructions: Please ignore the dripping and the fishy smell, the package actually started out that way
Are Contents Dangerous?: At one time, but we took care of that

"And our friends are all aboard..."

"And our friends are all aboard..."

This post will appear periodically, letting folks know the latest news of what divers are seeing under the waves across the globe.  I look forward to hearing from you as you encounter the weird, the wonderful, and the downright odd.  I will kick this recurring post off with a selection of interesting tidbits from aquariums from around the world.

 Georgia Aquarium, USA
A giant squid has come to the Georgia Aquarium!  OK, so it’s dead.  And, it’s constant formaldehyde bath has reduced it to the consistency and appearance of firm tofu.  Oh, and prior handling broke many of the tentacles, giving it the nickname “shorty.”  So, turn around and watch the beluga exhibit behind it instead.  That one really is fantastic.

Melbourne Aquarium, Australia
Penguin sex.  King and Gentoo penguins getting it on.  Need I say more?

Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
Not just an aquarium, but an entire sea paradise.  Located at the tip of Yokohama Bay, this unique destination combines an aquarium with a sea-themed amusement park.  Just like diving from a boat, you can get seasick on the rides then go see the aquatic wonders.

Two Oceans Aquarium, South Africa
The United Nations declared last year the International Year of the Frog.  Don’t tell me you missed it!  Now people can get that frog feeling all the time with an enormous permanent exhibit dedicated to our amphibious ancestors.  The website lists one of the compelling reasons to visit the exhibit as “Frogs with personalities!”  How could you say no?

New England Aquarium, USA
I guarantee that no where else in the world can you find the collection of sea creatures as specific and specialized as this aquarium’s Gulf of Maine exhibit.  Highlights include blue and white lobsters, which turn into American flags when you drop them into a stock pot.

Oceanographic Museum & Aquarium, Monaco
In 1910, Prince Albert I cleaned out his garage and put all of his old nautical stuff in this building, including excellent examples of why fish should not be subject to the rigors of taxidermy.  Forgo the entry fee and instead spend your time out front looking at what I believe is the most interesting thing related to the museum: a submarine used extensively by Jacques Cousteau.  And, best of all, the thing is bright yellow.  (I kid you not.)  “In the town, where I was born…”