Sunday, May 28, 2017

Octopus

It's been very warm, and yesterday Son-in-Law 1 and I took the little ones to the beach. They had a lovely time. Slightly unusually, Granddaughter-the-Elder and I took part in an octopus rescue.

Pardon my ignorance, but I didn't know we had octopuses here. Now I know that we do. This one was small - only about a foot long, I'd think, if it were extended - and orange, with the standard eight tentacles. It was amazingly like the sort of octopus you'd expect to see in some Pixar animation. The tide was coming in and it had been washed into the shallows beside the groyne that you can see to the right of the photo.

Grandson, Granddaughter and I found it first, but Grandson, having enquired if it was alive (yes) soon decided that it was scary and retreated back to his dad. Granddaughter is made of sterner stuff. First we tried to return it to the sea by scooping it with her seaside spade, but it soon washed in again. It was wiggling its tentacles in what I assume was a frantic fashion, and whoofing with its top bit. You'd have thought it was gasping for air but presumably it wasn't exactly doing this.

By this time other people had appeared and one youngish woman suggested putting it in a bucket and taking it into deeper water, which seemed a good idea. It wasn't exactly keen. She scooped it in and it promptly tried to escape, leg by wriggling leg. Then it desisted, presumably preferring the bucket to the wider world. She nobly decided to walk along the horizontal bar of the groyne to get to a greater depth. The bar was about six or eight inches wide and the water wasn't more than about six feet deep (I imagine), so it wasn't a death-defying exploit, but walking along a bar just above ground level is one thing. Doing it - carrying a bucket full of a squirmy thing of which you are slightly afraid - fully dressed, above cold Scottish water, with (by now) a large interested audience, is quite another.





She got some distance without incident but then reached a young couple who were sitting on the groyne. She couldn't get past them so asked them if they would tip the octopus into the water - an easier feat from a seated position than a standing one. They agreed, but when they tried to do so, it resisted and tried to climb out of the bucket. The girl screamed and shoved the bucket back to the woman, who nobly took it. Then she screamed too - too many legs, I imagine - but got a grip on herself and upturned the bucket. The octopus hung on for grim life for a few seconds and then succumbed to gravity and fell into the water. And the woman returned safely to dry land and cheers. What a heroine.

Unfortunately I had left my phone on the rug with Son-in-Law so I have no photographic evidence of this valiant deed. You'll just have to believe me.

9 comments:

  1. I believe you....but a picture would have been very interesting!

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  2. I certainly believe you, and am most impressed. The only octopode (spellcheck recommends this word rather than octopi) I have seen were no longer alive on a Greek quayside, then later on my plate. I regret this and would no longer partake of them, since they are charming and intelligent creatures who don't deserve to be eaten. Though I think I'd have been a bit leery about one trying to climb out of a bucket too.

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  3. I do indeed. What a brave rescue. I hope in the end, the octopus appreciated this!

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  4. We do, impressedly!

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  5. An incredible story and adventure! My late husband and daughters rescued a bat who was trapped by the lights of the hotel entrance. I had nothing to do with it by the way, being a bit terrified of bats.

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  6. Ooooh! You were brave! I'd've given Grandson a race to safety! YouTube videos of Octopoda/octopi will help both children explore more of the world of eight legged creatures from the safety (and warmth!) of the couch.

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  7. The picture is all too vivid.

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  8. You're too funny -- what a great memory for you and the grandchildren. I'm impressed that you weren't with grandson when he retreated -- that's where I would have been!

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  9. You do manage to have interesting experiences, don't you?

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