Friday Squid Blogging: A Moaning Baby Giant Squid

From 1000 Days Non-Stop at Sea:

Last evening we were lying down on the pilothouse bunk discussing some technical problems we were having, when we heard the fishing line go out. " That's not a fish." I said. The line went out too slowly and we were only going 2.5 knots, hardly fish catching speed. Reid went to reel in the line like he usually does in the evenings. Two minutes later he says, "There's a fish! Bring me my headlamp." I felt around for the headlamp in the darkness of the pilothouse and rush outside with it in hand. By this time, he knows it's not a regular fish. "Shine the light right here!" he says while using both hands to reel in the line. I point the light in that direction. Something Big was coming out of the water moaning a low pitched wailing sound. Fish don't moan. They squeak every now and then, but they don't moan. I had no idea what it could be. Reid didn't know either and many thoughts ran through our heads as to what we might be pulling in. Was it a mammal? A mermaid? An alien? We strained our eyes to see. There were some stars out, but no moon had risen to provide any light, so the water was a gurgling blackness that was easier to hear than see. I wasn't sure exactly where to direct the light, but that low wailing sound was freaking me out. Picture pulling in a big heavy unknown Thing from the deep dark ocean at night and it's crying. It hit the deck with a heavy squishy sound. It was hard to see anything in the darkness. I finally figured out where to put the light. We see a whole bunch of tentacles curling and waving and a round body about four inches in diameter and the continued moaning. We both realize at the same time it was a squid about four feet long, though its whole body wasn't onboard yet. Now I've had calamari. They're usually about five inches long, an inch in diameter, and cut into four pieces. This was not calamari. It was dark, who knew how high and far that thing could jump in an effort to get away. I didn't want it in my lap, so I kept backing away on the yoga platform, until I realized I had to keep shining the light on the thing, still eerily moaning, so I crawled forward again. I swear I was so terrified. Somehow, it freed itself from the line and splashed back into the water. I don't know who was more grateful that it got away, me or the squid. I calmed down a bit after it went back into the water. Reid was disappointed at the time, but later he admitted, "I don't know what I would have done with a huge squid this time of day." On my part, I'll try not to think of those long moaning sounds too much.

Posted on September 28, 2007 at 4:59 PM • 17 Comments

Comments

AnonymousSeptember 28, 2007 6:15 PM

Fish *do* moan. And croak. And click.

Still, it sounds like an almost Lovecraftian experience.

JimSeptember 29, 2007 1:58 AM

Moaning squids. Fart-encrypted fish communication. Uhuh.
Everything seems possible. I wonder when we see the first cyber squid-p0rn on your site, Bruce. (Did I miss anything there?)

SCNR.
Jim

Christoph ZurniedenSeptember 29, 2007 12:17 PM

@Ross

I think you mean the herring (Clupea harengus). Once described here http://www.zoology.ubc.ca/~bwilson/herring.html but it's a dead link now, you might try archive.org instead. The audiofile is not archived at archive.org but I found a mirror at http://www.swirlspice.com/stuff/Herring_sound.wav (encoding: Microsoft RIFF with MS ADPCM)

Soundfiles of invertebratae seem very rare. I found one of the common octopus (octopus vulgaris, http://www.thecephalopodpage.org/Octopusvulgaris.php. http://www.cephbase.utmb.edu/viddb/vidsrch3.cfm?ID=132 has a short videoclip embeded in a flashfile) at http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/staticfiles/NGS/Shared/StaticFiles/animals/audio/common-octopus.mp3.

CZ

1000 Days BloggerSeptember 30, 2007 7:14 PM

Thanks for picking up on that posting and the good words for the 1000 Days Blog.

Smooth sailing,

The Blogger for Reid & Soanya

ruidhOctober 1, 2007 4:06 PM

"I wonder when we see the first cyber squid-p0rn on your site, Bruce."

PJ Meyers has Bruce beat by a few years.

Quiet as a FishOctober 1, 2007 6:30 PM

Astronomy taught me how violent nature is, and it's obvious in human-human, human-nature interactions as well, but a PBS program on squid in 2004 showed the strong relationship of the cells in squid's eyes with the cells in human eyes. That was it--I never ate calimari again. Cannibalism isn't my gig. I tire of being 'binned'--so at the risk of being labeled tree-hugger bunny-lover I say the moaning squid story gives me more cause to pause, and consider the impact humans have on possibly very close evolutionary compatriots. On one very small planet.

parameciumOctober 4, 2007 12:35 PM

I'm with Quiet as a Fish.

We're one big Brady Bunch.

Small but great planet while we have it.

DanixOctober 4, 2007 1:53 PM

Did you go fishing on those R'yleh coordinates against common sense? It seems like you fished out Cthulhu out of the water.

Anyway, anyone who has read H.P. Lovecraft would definitely be freaked out on fishing a particularly large calamari. Eep.

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