Diving/snorkeling experiences with squid


May 13, 2003
This past February, I was in St. Thomas trying to forget everything I know about computer programming. :bonk: I wanted to do lots of diving, but due to a mixup, the charter wound up being sold out :? so I wound up taking a jetski snorkel tour. Just myself and the guide went around the island to a fairly secluded spot where I jumped into the water and snorkeled around for a while. I didn't see anything of note until.... "that's not a long nose...those are tentacles!!!" :squid: There were 2, hovering about 1.5 feet from the bottom side by side. Can't relate that they did much other than undulate their fins. I was nervous about getting close...I didn't want to scare them away or get nipped. After 15 minutes of my hovering there like a log, it was time to go. Don't even know if they noticed me. :cry:

Has anyone else dove/snorkeled with squid?
Has anyone else dove/snorkeled with squid?

I met a gang of cuttlefish (I'm sure someone can come up with a better collective noun than that) when doing my Open Water diving certificate. This was at Nelson's Bay, a couple of hours north of Sydney. The colour changes were completely immediate and mesmerising. That experience is what got me interested in cephs, actually.
how about a 'cuddle of cuttlefish'?

people often talk about them being cuddlefish (never sure whether they mean it or not????????) :mrgreen:
I've never encountered squid while scuba diving, but did see a group of three of them while snorkling. We were in Turks & Caicos, at Corals Gardens in Grace Bay. It was the first time I had seen any cephs in the wild, and was fascinated and watched them for several minutes. These were probably Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), one large and two smaller ones that moved slowly across the reef, about mid-way between the reef and the surface (in about 20 feet of water). They basically ignored us, though we didn't try to get too close.

on the first day of my open water license dive in the red sea i ecountered first a baby/pygmy octo and minutes later a bigger one (ca. 60cm mantle).
The baby octo was quite startled by the encounter and brought up two of his front arms, quite like a boxer :lol: . He looked very mean which was too funny because he was just the size of a thumb lol

After a couple of minutes he left us, swimming backwards into a hole.
Then after a few more meters of diving we saw the bigger one, maybe a relative of the small guy. It was all around midday so he was probably sleeping. The guy sat on a stone and didn´t move, actually he was very hard to spot even from a small distance.

Sadly we had to go on with our diving exercise, i could have stayed there and watched til my air had run out..

It was a great experience and it must´ve been fate that i saw on my first underwater trip two of my favorite creatures :biggrin2:

Last week I snorkelled in Malaysia and saw about 30 Sepioteuthis lessoniana... patterning and everything! quite a few little age specific groups. That made my day!
We regularly see octopuses (E. dofleini and O. rubescens) on our dives in Seattle. The GPO is, of course, the superstar of the two. They are simply magnificent creatures!!!!

We also will see common opalescent or market squid (Loligo opalescens) frequently on night dives, and it's not uncommon to see them mating. They are remarkable animals, but in my experience lack the personality and flair of the GPO.

We also have the Stubby Squid in the Puget Sound, which are positively adorable little creatures, and are fairly commonly seen on night dives.

There have been reports of larger squid species being washed up dead on several beaches, but it's unclear if these are occupants of the Puget Sound or if perhaps they have been brought in from the ocean on tidal currents. I have certainly never seen a large squid while diving, although it sounds like fun :mrgreen:

The market squid are not very big - usually 6-10 inches long.
Thanks for telling us about Seattle and Puget Sound. You have some
wonderful places for diving!

How large are the GPOs you see? Smaller, or full size?
Do you dive all year round, or only in the warmer season?


I have just moved away from Bothell, a city about 20 miles north of Seattle. While living up there I enjoyed the diving very much. I have seen several rubescens including one on shore, a fisherman caught him, and three or four dofleinis. The largest I saw in the open had an arm span of approx 1m. However there is a den with one who is quite larger (Alki cove two for those wanting to check it out in the Seattle area) which I haven't seen out. The Puget Sound has some great diving. Along with the 4 species of ceph's (there could be a possibility to see five
There have been reports of larger squid species being washed up dead on several beaches, but it's unclear if these are occupants of the Puget Sound or if perhaps they have been brought in from the ocean on tidal currents.
when I lived up there all the large squids that I can remember washing ashore were Moroteuthis robusta) I have seen huge Cyanea capillata (Lions Mane Jellyfish) and at night Hexanchus griseus (Blunt Nose Six Gill Shark).

My most memorable ceph moment however came while on a night dive in Cozumel. I was diving beside a reef cluster when I spotted a lone Sepioteuthis sepioidea. He allowed me to get right up next to him and even let me pet him. I swam away a little and he followed me, he then swam away a little and I followed him. It was sort of like playing tag only he knew I couldn't keep up with him at a full jet so he treated me like I would my little sister when playing tag. I was having such a blast until another diver grabbed him and he jetted away. Oh well I had my fun for at least ten minutes. I can't wait to go back.

Michael :meso:

We dive all year round - in fact, diving in the winter is best, as visibility improves considerably after the seaweeds all die off... and additionally, sightings of cephalopods is generally better in the winter as the days are shorter (and darker), which I guess tends to bring them out of their dens more often.

Regarding the GPOs - I don't really have a frame of reference as to what "full-sized" means, although I am certain that I have seen several "full sized" individuals.

I have observed 3 different females on eggs (one of which I grew *quite* attached to and cried when she died), and have also observed several large males showing symptoms of senesence (sort of strange, absent-minded behavior exhibited by the males shortly before they die).

The largest I have seen to date had individual arms approaching 5 feet in length, which would put the arm span in excess of 10 feet. His suckers nearest his mouth were better than 3 inches across. While I have heard reports of GPO's weighing more than 600 pounds and with truly gigantic armspans, individual arm lengths in the 3-4 foot range seem typical of the mature individuals I have observed.

I have seen probably 30 or so GPOs in my diving in Puget Sound and on Vancouver Island. Every encounter is a special memory, and with the exception of a brief snorkeling experience with orcas, the dives featuring GPOs are by far my favorites.

With apologies for the large sizes, here are a few pictures of mine:






There's more if you want at my website:

Puget Sound Diving – Learn to dive in Seattle!

BTW, I am a transplant to Seattle - I am a 5th generation Texan, and grew up in the Dallas area (and a proud Texas Tech Red Raider!!! :smile: )

ceph adventures


Hi groovers,
squid tale number one:
snorkelling on a glassy 40 metre vis day out at long bommie- which is one of our boats exclusive moorings....and.....
noticed 15 or so small squidlies in the clear warm (28 deg cel) turquoise water and i noticed the suid were strobing colors. then i noticed the squid behaving oddly. i realised they were mating and was lucky enough to observe the males hassling eachother and then the penultimate stuffing of the sperm packet into the females ...well i would say nose but i guess that is the mantle? anyway it was very cool and i was most fortunate.

squid tale number two:
a mate of mine who is a marine bio and dive instructor, decided to show the intro divers the cuttlefish. its is springtime ands the cuttleys are getting funky and all....and karl mimicked the cuttle which was flashing crossly and lifting its tentacles. All of a sudden, the cuttle launched itself at the guys mask and tangled up in his regs all the time never letting go of his mask. hilarious

but hey dont they look good :shock:
2 places, 2 kinds of squids


mmhhh... I have travelled and dived in different places. Some squids were easier to meet the day and others the night.

The days. The story takes place in Maldives and in the Red Sea, reef squids were easy to see near the reef (as their names tell :wink: ) . It's hard in snorkeling to take some pics of them but if you are lucky you may have a chance to take a nearly good shot : http://l.pawlowski.free.fr/m02plus/slides/109-0995_IMG.JPG

These creatures are very common and sometimes you just have to look down in the sea when you are standing on a gate to see some of them swimming at the surface.

The Night. The Story takes place where I currently live: Nice in France (mediterranean sea). As winter approaches, night are perfect to see squids, alone or in groups. In some dives, the lucky nights, we probably have seen at different times some groups of 10 or 20 or more individuals with a length of 1 foot each. I have made a small video (in progress... :wink: you may enjoy :wink: (the quality in wmv is low but the file remains small , less than 3 mb) :

If you look at the video, you will see that each encounter doesn't last long. They are not attracted by lights but they don't react immediately to light. In fact I don't really know why they are so shy. They are quite difficult to see and we spend most the time of our dives to carefully seek them. Fortunately they are located in limited areas.

Next encounters may probably be tomorrow night :wink:

Wow, great video! Very nice footage. :thumbsup:
And it's very cool to see the adults moving 'backwards' (arms first) in the same way we see our Sepioteuthis larvae move, especially when they attack prey. There's a tendency to assume squid only swim 'forwards' but they are so versatile...

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