Diving/snorkeling experiences with squid

Apr 3, 2003

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:


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: )

Sep 29, 2003
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:


Dec 17, 2003
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:



Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
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...


Dec 17, 2003
thanks :smile:

I don't know the common swin mode (forward ou backward) of our squids (Loligo vulgaris) but they mostly move as you see in the video: arms first when they are close to rocks or sand probably looking for something and forward (arms behind) when they are frightened or have to move for a long distance. In fact they're swimming in the same ways as our cuttle-fishes do !

Their behaviour when we meet them is also very unpredictable except unfortunately the end (escape :wink: ) . Sometimes, you may observe them for a "long" time (2-3 minutes) as a group or an individual will not move immediately. Sometimes, the fact you have a shinning light is enough to make them run away. Sometimes with the same light, you will see one individual or a group passing by in front of you and will ignore you until you try to take a shot even without flash (they don't like my equipment :heee: ) .

I wonder if using another kind of light (other than halogen or xenon, for example HID or LEDs) may change their behaviour. With some other divers, we have observed some animals react differently to Xenon Lights and to HID. It's probably a story with color temperature of these lights.

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