Jan 24, 2009


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."


  1. Oh that is so-o-o-o cool!

    You have such groovy adventures, Amanda!

  2. Mmmm, that octopus looks delicious.

  3. @Yokel: More painfully cold, than cool, but I'll take the compliment. Thanks, sister!

    @DB: An 80-something-year-old oceanographer friend told me about the old Neapolitan octopus dinner drill once. The waiter would wrestle a bucket to the table, limbs twining around his own, and present the live critter. If the patrons approved of the animal, he's lunge down and BITE it smack between the eyes to demonstrate the kill was fresh.

    Num, num, num.

  4. Or should that be nom, nom, nom in LOLsprach?

  5. Now that's the kind of seafood restaurant they just don't have anymore. (Mmm, fresh octopus).

    LOLspeak will be the demise of us all.

    PS- what's with the @'s? Are you on Twitter now, too?

  6. Yokel's right. You DO have the grooviest adventures, my friend. SO jealous!

  7. Hi Amanda,

    I love your writing style; I am contemplating on your April travel writing class at writers.com.

    -Jen Laceda