What was your first cephlopod Encounter

dwhatley;86955 said:
I envy that dive! I have never seen an octopus, a seahorse or a lion fish (they were not in US waters until recently I believe) in the water. I am sure the first two were present but I have never seen them (maybe that is why I keep all three :wink: ) Are you bringing Big Red to the convention again (I am hoping to attend and saw last the last convention video of your beauty) or is it just too far to safely haul him? I looked at your home page and noticed that you are originally from my neck of the woods :smile: so thought you might be thinking about a trip this way enroute to the show?

I have hauled that hunk of copper around a lot lately, and I hope that I only have to do it two more times: once from the gallery to my shop to permantly attach it to the rock, and then off to a nice home (which I will disclose as soon as it goes through). I am not sure I will attend TONMOcon II at this point as I am going to Japan at the end of March and am pretty tied up financially until I sell something. I don't really care to go back East more that I really have to anyway, kinda fond of the left coast, and pretty sick of the endless stripmalls and tract housing around where I grew up.
mine was with reef squid and octopus in the bahamas a few years back. all were very curious. the squid kinda would rush me then swim back fast just to check me out. the octopus i first encountered was while i was spear fishing. he was following me around watching me spear lobsters in the cracks. eventually he figured out that if i went down and looked into a crack and pulled back my spear that there would be something tasty on the end and he proceeded to go in before i could get the lobster out and took it(go figure).
THAT must have been a terrific dive even if you didn't get dinner! It is not as strange as you might imagine though. I had a seahorse and mandarin that did the same thing. The horse watched the mandarin because she would scare shrimp out of the rock. The mandarin watched the horse and saw what it ate. I have never had others do this but it was very evident. I still have the mandarin and she taught her new mate what to eat in a very short amount of time but she has never paid attention to any of the other seahorses. She lives with 4 seahorses and two pipefish but totally ignores these so there must be something we don't see that determines when an amimal will observe and learn and when it pays no attention. I read a thread where Roy Caldwell mentioned that octopuses may not be as smart as we think, especially when it comes to learning from observing and I wonder if the example you gave (immediate learning) and the observation I made with different animals suggest that we are missing a key factor on aquatic animal behavior.
monty;86984 said:
I wonder if we ever were staring for hours at Stretch at the same time; that was one of my favorite activities as a child. Steinhardt's GPOs and Cousteau films were my only ceph experiences for quite a while, then the Monterey aquarium and one glimpsed in some tidepools near Carmel, then finally I found that twilight SCUBA dives off SoCal let me encounter 2 small octos, probably bimacs, which was great... I got in a tug-of-war with a stick with one of the two I saw, but otherwise there's not much of a colorful story... I'd love to dive with cuttles (esp Apama) or sepioteuthis sometime...

Do you remember a slightly younger (I think) kid with an annoying high-pitched voice babbling on and on about the manner in which Stetch was collected, where he was found, his arm-span, and how great octopus really are to the World? That would have been me. If you don't remember almost-involuntary violent impulses toward a wild-eyed, ceph-obsessed psycho-child, then we probably didn't meet. Main source of the bullying at school back then (before I started earning it): octopus-worship.

By the way, Stretch was found in a toilet in a bank in San Francisco when the tip of his suckered-arm was protruding from the hole at the bottom of the bowl. Terrified a female patron (it was the ladies' room - made the local news), and then, when they arrived, Steinhardt scientists proceeded to pull Stretch out of said Ladies' Room toilet inch after inch after inch, until finally they had a complete giant octopus. He lived at the Steinhardt on display for a couple years more. All I can say is basically, that initial contactee ought to have felt honoured .But by then Stretch cemented my belief in the ultimate coolness of cephalopods, so I might be a wee bit prejudiced this way. The funny, or horrifying thing is that while the unnamed "victim" was urinating, something reached-up and suckered onto her nether parts. That's how Stretch was discovered, at least according to my remembered news stories from KRON ("KRON is Coming Home" - NBC affiliate) in SF, and the staff at the Steinhardt that used to humor this ceph-obsessed little fanatic. Maybe there was something wrong with me as a child, but a combination giant octopus (he ultimately developed quite a considerable arm-span - ask Monty) and toilet humor for a naughty little kid like me - bullseye. If I hadn't already been a ceph-fanatic by then (I was) then this certainly cemented it nonetheless.

Incidentally, Stretch appeared in the bank toilet after one of our major winter storms. I'm wondering if with things mixed-up from the influx of fresh water due to the storms, wildlife beneath the waves got stirred-up, and perhaps one of our N. Californian green morays might have chased young Stretch up the sewers and plumbing to get him there. The news footage of the tip of a coiled tentacle - very much alive - reaching up out of the bottom of a toilet bowl will most assuredly stay with me for my lifetime. Does anybody else have any info that'll clarify all this?

Oh well, God Bless!

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