Sunday, June 22, 2014

The octopus report

Saw another one. I'd gone for a late afternoon swim (late afternoon is still lovely and warm and sunny, but the UV won't try to eat me) and seen nothing much of interest. Just in it for the exercise after a couple of days at home. By the time I'd come back to the spiaggia libero, the shade of the buildings had almost covered the beach, so I decided to take a long walk to the other end, and catch the last of the evening rays.

When I got there, I'd only intended to sit and read my book and bask a little, but the water just looked irresistable, so I went for one last splash of the day. I had just walked in to barely waist deep and slid under and there it was right in front of me. This time it was a wee one, it's "head" not much bigger than my hand, and its legs all coiled up under it so it looked like a rock. One of its legs, though, was turned over and I spotted the telltale red with a row of white suckers.

They're amazingly hard to see when they don't want to be, but I hung there in the water looking down and slowly its shape resolved into its big baggy head-thing, with the siphon holes pulsing water in and out, and a pair of eyes watching me with undivided attention.

It didn't move. I decided to try to outwait it, but it still didn't move. I was starting to get cold, so after diving down a few times to get a closer look, I thought I'd see if it would react if I were closer. I carefully placed my foot a few inches from its hiding spot under a rock ledge. I didn't move, and ever so slowly, it uncurled a single tentacle and reached delicately out to take a little taste. The tiny tip of the arm touched the toe of my neoprene footie, felt around to see if it was something good to eat and then withdrew.

It was SO cute! I got out of the water with a sense of having accomplished a feat of interspecies communication.


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