Essay by Alan Anderson
Suicidal Cephalopods

Rocky bluffs dotted with cactus create a narrow indentation on the north side of the larger Honeymoon Cove. Here on Danzante Island, the morning sun begins to warmly illuminate the bluffs as I sip my coffee in the cockpit of s/v Squiz. The gulls on the small beach begin to squawk excitedly and laugh a raucous song. Although the water is completely calm, I hear a noise like small waves lapping on the shore. This is followed by several splashing noises. Scanning the shoreline, I see hundreds of writhing, squirting, squid flopping themselves onto the beach.

Yipping with amazement, I roust the rest of the gang (my boat is tied alongside s/v Lady Galadriel). As, Katherine, Lisa, and Dennis emerge onto the deck - a school of a thousand 1-2 foot long squid swim past our boats, heading back out to sea. These may be the female squid abandoning the males to commit suicide on the shore after mating. We climb down into the dinghy and putter to shore to improve our view of the spectacle. Nearing the beach mating squid are intertwined in the shallow water. At the water's edge, some of the torpedo-shaped bodies are chroma-shifting between off-white and rusty-red as they flop and squirt powerful jets of water to push themselves ashore. Stained by squid ink, the water in one corner of our tropical inlet becomes an opaque brown-black.

After an hour, the bizarre dance of necromancy subsides, leaving behind overfed squawking gulls. Inexplicably, the squid only beached themselves in our small inlet; the vast majority of Honeymoon Cove seems devoid of suicidal cephalopods. A half hour later a panga motors into our inlet and two fishermen gather a bunch of dying squid. How did they know this death march had just occurred?