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30 August 2009

Hello Octopus

A visit to an interesting sea creature
A little octopus in its nest, next to some colored mussels

Yesterday I went swimming and sunbathing on the beach with a bunch of friends. At one point I went out swimming alone, with my waterproof camera (Pentax Optio W60). I crossed the part of the water that still had sand on its floor and went to a big plate of rock that lies parallel to the beach. There I dived around, taking mostly "seascape" style pictures and harassing some small fish. After a while I followed a small crack in the plate outwards, as there were many small fish. I saw something purple there and thought it would be nice to get some color into my pictures, so I took a dive. I was surprised to notice a pair of eyes looking at me from a little head sticking out of a hole in the crack. Hello octopus!

This is the second octopus I've seen in the wild. The first one was about 4 meters down and if a friend hadn't shown it me (again and again until I finally saw it, while the drift and strong wind was always carrying us away), I would never have spotted it. Nonetheless, now I knew what I was seeing. I wanted to take a good picture. So I put on the "macro" setting in my camera and took dive after dive. This little octopus was living in only about 1.6 meters of depth, meaning I could even stand to relax and take air between attempts.

But still it was hard to take a good picture. The main problem was, that between the time that the camera focused and when I could take the picture my buoyancy would always float me up maybe 10 to 20cm and pictures would be out of focus. Even standing upright and taking pix with a longer focal length didn't help much, as I'd still start to float and the pictures were too "milky" due to more water between the lens and the object.

A little octopus in its nest, next to some colored mussels

Finally in a second tour to my "model", a friend came along and he gave me a helpful push to keep me down, while I held the camera maybe 15cm from the little octopus. I now have maybe 5 or 6 good picture and another 5 or so who are acceptable. This one here is one of the best ones I think. You can see one eye with the pupil that is always held horizontal. One of the arms is turned before and wrapped around the head with the suction cups showing. There is a nice drawing on the skin - which could have changed at any moment for camouflage. The green mussel and the purple stones have been placed there by the octopus itself. At some point I held out my finger and touched the ground about 15cm from its "lair" and the octopus moved more out of the hole, showing a lot more of its arms. Don't have a good photo of that though.

You can't really see the scale, this octopus is quite small. The width of its head - the distance between its eyes - is maybe 1.5 - 2cm. Not much too eat if you'd decide to hunt this beautiful creature. Nothing that I would do really. On the same afternoon, after the octopus adventure, a friend saw something much bigger in the water, another adventure that I will write about in another post.

Posted by betabug at 08:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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