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You Can Walk, Crawl, or Glide...But You Can Never Hide!

Updated on June 9, 2013
A markerKapaa Beach -
Kapaa Beach, Hawaii 96746, USA
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Kapa'a Flats is a great area for spearfishing and catching octopus.

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The octopus is one of the most intelligent marine animals. It has a well-developed brain and excellent eyesight. It is adept at camouflage and very well capable of adapting to practically any sea floor.

It can build a home in the most adverse circumstances. It can elude a predator and find or even create a hiding place in mere seconds.

Because it has no bones--the only hard substance in its body being a beak--it can slither into the tiniest crevices or amazingly contort its mass into holes much larger than itself.

When threatened, it shoots ink that clouds the vision of the attacker, thus enabling the octopus to escape. For predators like sharks that have a keen sense of smell, the ink contains pheromones that distract the aggressor, buying time for the octopus to seemingly vanish.

Indeed, the octopus is equipped with a superb brain and an arsenal of defense mechanisms. It truly is a survivor.

Even so...

It is no match for the master cephalopod fisherman, the talented devilfish bounty hunter who searches the reefs and waters off Kaua'i.

The video above, graciously shared with me by one such proficient octopus fisherman from the Garden Island, is fascinating enough just as it is. After watching it several times in succession, however, the single outstanding thing about it was the eventual realization that the video was shot with one hand while the other hand was used to spear the octopus.

And that's not all...

Amazingly, the octopus fisherman was wearing a mask and snorkel while swimming, wading, and/or standing for the duration of this shot. One wonders how he managed to capture the octopus while not losing his camera...or--vice-versa--how he maintained possession of the camera without losing the tentacled quarry.

When you watch the video again, take note of the cave-like hiding place that the octopus has created. One of the key things to look for when fishing for octopus are these makeshift structures--especially the obviously engineered rocks at the entrance way. While the video doesn't clearly show it, these rocks are usually quite colorful, perhaps facilitating the octopus's choice or range of camouflage...yet nevertheless another dead giveaway.

Finally, when interviewing the octopus fisherman over the phone today, I learned that this octopus was captured in three feet of water. This is, in fact, the norm rather than the exception.

This is encouraging news for potential visitors to Kaua'i who someday can experience similar adventures...and for this middle-aged island expatriate who needs to get reacquainted with the joyful ocean activities of his youth.

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