Octopus to the Face
By Stan S., First Prize winner of our “Best Fishing or Boating Story Contest”
Blue water, calm seas and a cool breeze—it’s hard to beat a nice day offshore with friends and family doing whatever it is that lures you out there. In my case, its half-crazed fellow Helldiver buddies with an unquenchable desire for extreme spearfishing. Our dive club was founded in 1962 and named after the aquatic, highly efficient duck-like fishing bird which is formally known as the Pied Billed Grebe. It is also closely related to the loon. . . . I think you get the picture.
Our main playground is along the coast from Florida into Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. We focus on the Louisiana Delta in anywhere from six to 600 feet of water because of the abundance of fish and hundreds of oil platforms which create a fantastic habitat for trophy fish—they are literally vertical living reefs.
When we’re not being raked along the barnacle encrusted pipes with our hands clenched deep in a big amberjack’s gills or blindly being pulled into a murky entanglement by some other monster fish, we are curiously exploring the nooks and crannies of the huge underwater Jungle Gyms that the oil platforms provide.
If you really stop and look at some of the structures you will be amazed at the life “hiding” in plain view among these man-made reefs. There are lobsters, urchins, corals, sponges, crabs, shrimp and too many tropical fish to list, etc. Did I forget to mention the cute, cuddly and quite tasty octopus? I can honestly say that, ounce for ounce, the octopus is one of the strongest critters I have ever grabbed and being from South Louisiana I have grabbed my share of critters.
Being a novice diver twenty-five years ago I was the planned victim of “hey, sounds like FUN” when the idea was presented to me by a mentor. Quickly I learned that once grabbed an octopus tends to use all eight arms and in somewhat of a harp playing motion it works its way toward your upper torso and there is really nothing you can do about it! To say the least, your eyes get as big as golf balls as the suctioned sea creature nears your pie hole and envelopes your head.
I’ve since had the pleasure of initiating a few bright eyed spearos over the years and must say it’s much more entertaining watching than participating. Even though the most danger that they’re ever in is when they’re trying to explain the suction marks on their necks to whomever is requiring explanation we still keep an eye on them until they’re back to the boat. For the rest of the day, or in some cases days, it would require plastic surgery to remove their smiles. Wisdom comes from age and experience and one important thing that I have learned is to never put a live octopus in an unlatched ice chest with beer in it. Need I say more?
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November 1, 2012 / mpartsexpress / 0
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Margaret Graham Neeeson
Margaret Graham Neeson
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