One day we took a glass bottom boat ride. Rob got to go for a swim and learned to squid wrestle - catch octopus

Three years ago, we took a glass bottom boat ride on the Corral Queen. It's a wonderful experience, so we signed up again this year. Both times we were the only passengers on board. The captain and crew are wonderful, friendly and helpful. This year, I got up my nerve and asked the captain if I might snorkel off the boat. He not only said "yes", he jumped in and taught me to "squid wrestle".

This is an activity I had only learned about during Ken's bachelor party. One of Ken's friends had caught a fairly large octopus (known as a squid in Hawaii) in shallow water. This can be a little dangerous. If the octopus gets hold of the bottom and of you, you may not be able to keep your head above water. In this case large meant about a gallon of octopus, measured by stuffing it in a freezer bag. It's reach was around 5 feet from head to tip.

The octopus that Captain Kalani helped me bring in was much smaller - maybe a 2-3 pounds, with a reach of no more than 3 feet from head to tip. None-the-less, handling it was very exciting. It was strong and very creative in the use of it's many arms. Moreover, by the time I swam 300 yards to the boat, I was quite convinced that it was one of the smartest animals that I've ever encountered.

Here's a view from the boat of Kaneohe Bay.

Here's another.

Here's where Bryson, Maria Hunter and Sally get there first hint that anything unusual is going on. You'd hardly think that little stripe across my arm was anything much at all.

But once we got it up on deck, the kids couldn't decide just what to make of it.

Here you can kind of tell that the thing is just all arms.

Here is a sea urchin that Captain Kalani brought up. You wouldn't even think it was alive, but he put it in the container upside down. It righted itself in about 5 minutes.

In the next couple of pictures, Captain Kalani showed us how the sea weed he had pulled up was full of miniture crabs.

While we were busy with the sea urchin and the crabs, the octopus started to make its get-away. Luckly, we noticed before it got overboard. It was interesting that one octopus was really determined to get away. The smaller one pretty much just sat in the bucket and waited.

Captain Kalani started egging me on. He put the bigger octopus on my head for a portrait sitting. He got me to try out an interesting variation on "taco", or raw octopus. I did not actually bite. As you can see, this gave the Bryson and Maria Hunter the confidence to get "up close and personal" with the beast.

Here's where the sea urchin does its flip.

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First copyright year: 2003
Last updated: 3/12/2003 -- by R. Mackie