Tin Man and more


Oct 4, 2008
Coffs Harbour N.S.W.Australia
About a week ago I was told that there were some octopus in the Rock Pool on the south side of the headland near the beach, the weather had been blowing from the south and was causing waves to break over the concrete wall even at low tide. I went down to have a look after work to see if the stories were true or not. It only took a few minutes to find the first octopus ( this one was given the name of Tin Man even though it was a female). To me it appeared to be close in size to a mature Gloomy, and was very friendly to the point it left it's den within a few minutes of me finding her. As I took photos she slid across the sand and onto my foot, feeling with its arms between each of my toes. Definitely one of the strangest feeling that I can recall. After 15 minutes I decided to go and look to see if I could find the other 2 that I was told about. Across the other side lived a small and quite young octopus, I had a small shiny Christmas decoration attached to a string line and sinker, I then dropped it outside her den and no sooner had it landed on the rock outside her den she had reached out and totally wrapped her mantle around the ball. She stayed like that for several minutes only letting go when I pulled on the string. I search for a while but I could not find the 3rd one.

It was a nearly a week before I got back there to see if any of them were still there. Tin Man was still in the same den and nothing that I did could entice her out. I then went in search of the "Little one" but her den was empty. After searching the around the edge of the pool I finally located her about 5 metres to the left of Tin Man. It was her turn to be playful, she quite willingly left the den and climbed all over my hand.

It was another 4 days before I returned to check on them. I had some friends that had come to visit and were very keen to have a swim and meet Tin Man and the "Little one". Again Tin Man would not budge, play or be coaxed out.

Over the next 2 days we spent several hour on each visit being entertained by "Little one" and Tin man who had shifted dens. I took a small clear plastic
container with me and in that I placed a small crab. The container had one hole 4mm across. It didn't take long before all the legs were removed but she could not manage to open the container, no sooner had I done the deed for her the crab was gone beneath her mantel. Then much to my surprise she left the den and went to my foot again. This time I moved several metres away from the rocks and she stayed on my foot. I have to admit I was starting to wonder if a toe was going to be her next meal.

I managed to go back again today, my friends have gone back home with videos and photos and huge smiles. When I got there my smile was totally gone....

the local council had decided to empty the water and use an excavator to remove most of the sand, this did need doing but it was such a shock. I went down to where 2 of the workers were and asked if I could go and check the octopus. I told them what I had been doing over the last week and they then gave me the OK.

Where Tin Man had over a meter of water above her last den yesterday, it was now dry and just a small very dirt pool beneath were she used to sit. The water was only
finger deep but I saw a little bit of movement .... her breathing was very rapid and strong. The water was that dirty I could hardly see her. I reached out and cupped my hands either side of her and as I lifted her out the workers were amazed. I reached over the concrete wall and let her slip down the rocks into the ocean on the other side.

I went back this afternoon and at least the water was a bit cleaner ..... maybe in a few days I can go back and do another search and start all over again.


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What a shock!!! I am glad they waited for us to leave and that you were able to rescue Tinman. :fingerscrossed: that the little ones got out. The hole behind the box was certainly big enough if the actual drain is.
It is kind of sad to post now but ... My camera housing has a minute leak and most of my photos while using it have a condensation haze and I am missing video and and stills from the card and one card almost refused to download at all. I think the camera will survive (the go pro Hero 3 is compelling to almost wish otherwise :roll:). I did managed to get a short video of Tin Man disassembling the crab. We really were not aware that she was pulling the legs off until Haggs inspected the container but watching the video closely you can see her arm inside the container and the legs being detached.

Of interest, Tin Man kept a cigar shaped something (possibly bark) with her to use as a door. The octo we found in the tide pool in Port Macquarie has an almost identically shaped piece of something.



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