Cephalopod Encounters

OctopusesDid you know that the plural of octopus is octopuses or octopodes? Me neither. According to the dictionary, octopi is definitely wrong.

I’ve recently come to learn that octopuses are AWESOME! During our holiday in Greece we bumped into an octopus on three separate occasions. The waters around Kefalonia are crystal clear and bursting with interesting marine life; perfect for snorkeling. So, on one bright, warm day we headed out on an excursion with Jamie, a marine biologist, whose main area of study was octopuses, hence my sudden interest in them.

Our transportation for the day was a traditional Greek working boat or Kaiki which sailed us around the coast, stopping along the way to drop anchor so we could learn about urchins, starfish, eels, sea cucumbers and octopuses. Jamie, kept us rapt with tales of Greek mythology, mafia and marine life in between our snorkeling adventures when were left to explore the bays and mingle with the fish.

Within moments of taking our first dip into the water I stumbled upon an octopus gliding across the seabed – what luck! I squealed with excitement through my snorkel and called for Jamie who swiftly caught it, but not before it squirted us with ink and wowed us with its ability to change a variety of colours in a matter of seconds.

Back on board the boat, we stood over the little guy who eyeballed intently before trying to climb out of the temporary aquarium using its suckers. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, I couldn’t help touching it. It probably goes without saying that feeling an octopus’s tentacles wrap around your hand is weird and slightly alarming – for a moment I thought it might never let go. After a few interesting octopus anecdotes we put him back in the water and watched him swim away.

Here are some things I learnt:

  • An octopus can get through a hole the size of a ten pence piece (if you don’t believe me, I found a video on YouTube. Essentially, if its eyes can get through a hole, then so can the rest of it
  • Their tentacles will grow back should they accidentally lose one in a fight or to prey
  • They make little nests that look like miniature fortresses
  • They live about two years
  • They can survive out of the water for 3-5 minutes (possibly more?)
  • After mating, the male dies
  • Greek people love to eat them 😦

Below: A photo I took from the end of the pier near our apartment in Fiscardo – this chap was happily minding his own business.



Below: our transportation for the day.


The boat

5 thoughts on “Cephalopod Encounters

  1. …what about octo-pie??…sort of like sushi with pastry…(and why does the spell check keep changing octo-pie back to octopi?!?)…love the ‘toon, glad you didn’t hold off because of my feeble attempts at many legged puss-things…

    • Octo-pie? After shaking hands with an octopus, I don’t think I could bring myself to eat one.
      As for auto correct? maybe it’s American and maybe my Collins dictionary is out of date but it quite clearly states ‘octopi is wrong’. I guess it’s a bit like mongoose…the plural of which is mongooses not mongeese as one might assume.

      Thanks for appreciating the drawing 🙂

  2. Cool comic illustration with Octopi 🙂
    If it’s not a trade secret, may I ask what you do your illustrations in?
    Either way, thanks!

    • No secrets to be kept here. I primarily hand draw all of my work (unless I’m playing in Adobe Illustrator) then scan into Photoshop for colouring. Thanks for liking the post – vampigs are a new one on me 😉

      • Thanks for the drawing tip and, yes, well it seems not many people know about vampigs! 🙂

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