Friday, 16 September 2016

Octopus in a rock pool

Recently, at the rock pools in Tairua, I had an amazing encounter. Octopi! Two of them, in the same rock pool.

That in itself is worthy of note: to find not one, but two beautiful octopi on the same day. But what happened next was even more amazing. One of the octopi, the larger one, raised its head to the surface of the rock pool and spoke…    

So here I am, an octopus in a rock pool.

It is not, to be fair, the most flash rock pool I’ve been in.

For a start, there are the shrimps: whiskery, flibberty creatures that pester an animal when he’s trying to hide. The anemones too, wink, stare.

Yet, in the absence of a larger claim to occupation, a seal say or an eel, I fancy I may call it my own.

What is that you say? You consider a rock pool not the safest place for an octopus to reside.

On the contrary! Note the abundance of nook and crevasse; perfect for containing a body soft as an over-ripe fruit. A fluid body, lithe and unencumbered by meddlesome bones.

You disagree? Claim a soft body can be disadvantage, in the presence of, say, a spear.

Oh, I see, you have one there.

Ah, yes, and here it is. You brandish it before you like a toasting fork over hot coals.  

Yes, yes, that is close enough; I assure you, I see your point.

Perhaps that is the downfall, after all, of a rock pool – no immediate means of escape.

Although containment can, itself, be offset by the proximity of the sea.

Yes, that’s right, the sea.

We are, after all, talking of a temporary inland outpost; the connection to the mother water remains.

You snigger, yet I would not expect you to understand, land lubber as you are, with your parcels and packages of tidily allotted ground. With the sea we take a broader view: connection rather than fence. Pool to sea to tributary, animal to animal, it is all as one.

Take, for example, my large friend here.

 Where? There. See there, where he rears behind you

Yes, indeed, he is an orca. Note the black and white warrior markings, the musculature of the sides.

Good idea, drop the spear, you’ll find it serves you little use now.

Now then, as I was saying…

So here I am, an octopus in a rock pool.