22 September 2000
I've wanted to do a squid dive ever since I got certified. Somehow, I always seemed to find out about them when all the squid were gone.
When I got the squid alert via the Divebums mailing list, I was stoked. I sent out an invitation to a La Jolla Shore dive. Vic Machinski, one of our mailing list guests, called me Friday and said he'd be down. I met Vic at La Jolla Shores at the appointed time. Conditions were beautiful. An honest 15-20 ft vis, with less than a foot of surf. Surge was much better than light.
We geared up and hit the water somewhere around 7:45 The dive itself started right at 8PM. As we swam toward the canyon, we encountered a very docile, 3 foot horn shark; his bulging belly made him look more like a pregnant cat. A little further out, we ran across a few skates looking for some calamari of their own.
At 35 feet, I looked up to see a small squadron of squid hovering off the bottom watching us. I'm used to seeing them in the fish market. Hovering in the water, they looked more extraterrestrial than aquatic. They seemed to avoid the direct beam of our dive lights. So we were more careful after that.
We found more squid swimming out at the edge of the canyon. There were numerous females carrying their transparent egg pouches. They wouldn't turn to milky white until they were fertilized. Several males were attempting to mate with a female. Once a male had mated with her, they swam away in search of other candidates.
We found one squid nearing its end. The lacy pattern on its body was beautiful to see.
The water seemed full of small creatures. I couldn't quite tell what they were, they moved like krill. One tiny little pipefish found its way in front of my dive light. I held still and it thankfully stayed for a minute, then returned to hunting for its equally tiny prey.
We lost our visibility when another group of divers swam through. By then, it was time to return to shore. Difficult as it was, we pulled ourselves away from the strange creatures we'd come to appreciate.
We took a leisurely swim back, stopping again to watch the squid mating at the top of the canyon.
Back on shore, Vic and I agreed that this was an awesome dive. I drove home with this silly grin plastered to my face. I can't seem to get it off either. Vic, you win the diving initiative award for driving three hours to and from your home in the desert to get to this dive.
You can see all the Marty Snyderman film you want, but it won't begin to compare to seeing this phenomenon first hand. I'm going again.
Copyright 2000, David Ambrose All rights reserved.
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