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?