Humboldt Squid attacks on Discovery Channel


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Site Owner
May 30, 2000

Mark your calendars, as there will be several airings in mid-April of divers getting attacked by Humboldt Squid on this program (scroll to mid-page for times): Humboldt Squid attacks on Discovery Channel .

The person manning the camera during these attacks was noneother than member gonetobaja (Dale) himself. Thanks for all your contributions on this, Dale -- should be very interesting!
monty;92113 said:
That link isn't working for me, but it sounds like it's this show called Rogue Nature, right?

edit: I can't figure out how to get to tell me if it's on HD, or only standard TV... I'm pretty sure gonetobaja has a fancy HD camera, though, so I'm hoping for HD!


Whats up Monty! I was told that it would be broadcast in HD and regular. I have not seen the show but I can give you a run down of it. We train the host of the show how to get attacked, by getting him attacked by guard dogs first. Then we went to Baja and Scott and The host did an underwater squid anatomy lesson, then we went to another spot and thats where he got attacked. I got the whole thing on video.

I cant wait to see it because I really have no idea how it was put together or will come out.

I know there will be squid in it though!:biggrin2:

Somebody told me they saw this in HD on Discovery last night (and apparently it was amazing)... is that possible? It's not showing up as airing until April 20th on the Discovery site!
gonetobaja;92162 said:
We train the host of the show how to get attacked, by getting him attacked by guard dogs first.

Let me get this straight, you actually had a host who when told "To prepare you for being savaged by large bity squid, we thought we'd first throw you to some snarling savage attack dogs."......and he said "Sure, no worries." ?!

What's this guy in next "Mesonychoteuthis - savage predator or cuddly toy?"?
Cairnos;93013 said:
Let me get this straight, you actually had a host who when told "To prepare you for being savaged by large bity squid, we thought we'd first throw you to some snarling savage attack dogs."......and he said "Sure, no worries." ?!

What's this guy in next "Mesonychoteuthis - savage predator or cuddly toy?"?


It may sound strange but due to the circumstances that he was asking us to put him in, it was a sound policy.

For all I know they may not even put in the dog attack training part. The host of the show, Dave Salmoni had already recieved years of training dealing with large cats so he was no stranger on how to handle himself in the event of an animal attack. The German Shepards may have just been a refresher course.

He was a real nice and humble person when he was diving with us. It was really cool to be able to bring him to that site so he could experience what we were saying first hand.
I caught some of it. Nice footage!
The dogs were in it. The host is doing a bunch of 'dangerous' animal shows - pretty interesting if a little over done of the killing and dying! :biggrin2:

I'm trying to get my brother in law to meet me down there to dive with you guys!
Just got a chance to watch it again. For the record, we NEVER take customers diving in the area where the squid are know to act like they did on the show. For a customer to be imersed in a feeding frenzy on purpose is a special request. That was the reason for the dog attack training. Normaly you dont need that type of preparation to do the dive as we dont dive in an area where we know that you get attacked. We dive in areas that are far less risky. The typical dive is more like when Scott was showing the host different parts of the squid before he lets it go, or when we caught one and installed a camera on it. there is some pretty interesting behavior on the squid cam.

What did you guys think?

I enjoyed it, but not as much as the Demonio Rojo DVD. It seemed like it was all about "dude, I'm so extreme" (and it seems like Scott's pretty easy to get into that kind of enthusiasm, so the producers must have loved the interplay...) There was clearly a lot of editing for maximum melodrama... which seemed like it got more than a little silly... I kept thinking "if you didn't want to get bitten on the head, why didn't you wear an armored hood?" Considering how much this guy was pushing the aggression talk, I actually thought the squids went pretty easy on him compared to some of the footage in Demonio Rojo, too... but it does seem like armor and a tether would be a good idea... the blown eardrum problem seems kind of worrisome.

If they were as prone to biting his head as he was complaining about, I would think that there would be a serious danger of the squid taking out a 2" chunk of his neck, which would be a bummer if it got his jugular... It seemed, in general, that they were going for the "this is so dangerous, I must be he-man and/or a complete idiot" image for the host, but they did that for the GPO, too, which was, well, probably less dangerous than the average wreck dive.

All in all, though, I think I'd rather dive with non-frenzied squids and GPOs. It seems pretty wasteful to toss the heads and fins overboard, too... are they not good eating? I've heard that South American Humboldt fisheries are selling the arm crowns to asia as a cheap substitute for octopus sushi... I thought the squidcam squid was far too pleasant to want him/her to be eaten, so it was more disturbing (and seemed more unsportsmanlike) to see the fishermen going after them with the big knife...

Anyway, it seems like humans must not seem worth the effort to the squids, since when they tasted the Dave's head they didn't grab on and keep biting... After seeing the video of the Seattle GPO taking down a big shark, I have no doubts that a large ceph making an effort can either bite or twist the neck of a vertebrate about its size, so I'd think that if the squid got a chunk of face-flesh and decided to go for broke that it would either go for that approach or just try to take as many beakfulls as it could. It seems like they're pretty tentative around divers compared to what their capacity is to cause major damage.

One thing I've noticed in most of the SeaWolves footage is that they don't seem to use their tentacles for most feeding operations. Have you guys ever dived with them among large fish? I'd expect that they would do the usual squid approach of grabbing with tentacles when their prey is 1-3 feet long, but they seem to prefer just grabbing with arms when they're getting chum, krill, or divers...

edit: in my rambling, I forgot to mention that, as always, the underwater footage is amazing, and I am still saving my pennies in the hope of booking a trip with you guys. I think I'm particularly reacting to the "over the top" aspect because I don't want all my friends and family to say "you're going to go dive with those squids? I saw a thing on Discovery that says if you're not a macho nature-show host they'll tear you limb from limb!" I'd prefer to skip the dog attack, too...

Im glad you watched it. I thought that the drama was played up a little bit myself. His Rogue Nature series is about if animals will kill you so thats the angle. The reason that they dont hang on to his head is because both of this hits he took on his OTS facemask. Its full face mask with a comm system and it has a 5 point strap system. Its very unlikely that a squid can tear it off. The regulator and comm system hang down in front of your neck offering a form of protection. The back of your head is exposed but your neck is protected by your tanks and saftey cable running up. You have to allow for some movement. The armor is already cumbersome. The chainmail that the customers wear is no problem. but my custom hard armor is chainmail with aluminum and abs high impact panels. It has lots of drag in the water. its worth it though.

The squid cam is a way for us to use the squid as a ROV. We have found ways to hook the camera and then release the squid with little harm. The fishermen in Santa Rosalia are another story. They do keep all of the squid. The only parts they through back are the insides and the eyes with the beak. All of the other parts are taken back to port and sorted out into milk crates full of fins, mantles, and arms.

They do take tons of squid though. One of the reasons we started doing squid diving tours is to create a tourist dollar value to the animal. Proving something is worth more alive than dead is sometimes the only way to promote the idea of conservation.

Im hoping at the very least the show proves that you can dive with these animals and its very interesting to even see one.

By the way, the host of the show, Dave Salmoni was a very nice and humble person. He always took our advice on saftey and he never did anything or tried to do anything crazy with us. He is just trying to make shows about dangerous animals and hollywood takes care of the rest.

Im thinking of making another tour called

"Squid Frenzy"

For those people who are looking for trouble...:welcome:

That one comes with a mandatory Dog Attack training class.:wink:

Anyone else see it?
Oh yea, the reason that they dont hang on is cause when they hit you they get metal. On the host of the show he got hit on his mask twice. We all got grabbed on legs, arms, and cameras. Scott got hit in the head also. You can see on the footage where I am getting hit on the camera at the same time that I filmed the attack to his head. As far as the GPO I cant comment. I know that most octopus I see in the sea would rather leave me alone and hide in a hole. Some have puffed up and tried to look big an scary but they always seem to take off if they can. Squid are surprisingly un afraid of people. I have never seen an animal in the sea so un afraid.

That being said, its really not that dangerous of a dive. You have a max bottom of 40 feet because you are on a tether. You are protected in armor, and diving in a group. All you really have to do is hang there and snap pictures.

Although they will come up and check you out, if you are not an easy prey in a second or two they will back off. They are too smart to hang around if they cant take you down quick.

I have never witnessed a tentacular strike. Most of the time the squid are far faster and more stealthy than the victim they hit, whatever it may be. They tend to grab with all of the arms at once, then if its a no-go taste test they let you go just as fast.
I tried to see it, set up a "remind me", then never got reminded. I think I have to change something in my email program, but I haven't figured out what. They're showing it again on May 8. For that one my reminder is good old fashioned pen and paper and scotch tape!