Redondo, Washington One flashlight sputters into the rowboat's shadows, 60 feet below the sea. Val slaps a freshly charged one in my glove, then gestures: "look!"
My first Giant Pacific Octopus in the wild.
I study the white suckers against the cephalopod's rose- and salmon-colored skin. It resembles a Kleenex, blotted with teeny bopper lipgloss, then chucked in a puddle. Deep under a rowboat, the GPO only displays two, maybe three, limbs: all squee-geed together.
The moment's very Allegory of the Cave. Kinda like spotting a lemon twist in a faketini and trying to envision the whole fruit. For, erm, someone who grew up eating only Count Chocula. In Outer Mongolia.
Anyway. We ascend, that angelic drift from deep evergreen to pale jade. My head breaks the surface. "GPOOOOOOOOOO!" I shout.
"Whoooo!" Val responds. Because octopi, anytime, are pretty damn amazing, even for an all-star diver like her. And then she articulates what I can't yet. "Sure, you can see one at the aquarium, but here ... here it's different ...here you've earned it."