I rolled into the loading area of Stillwater Cove aka SWS bright and early yesterday morning. My buddies Jim, Nathan, and Mike were already on the water and several other guys were unloading and setting up. I paddled out to the area I knew the other guys would be diving. Once outside the cove the water was surgy, I had forgotten to take my Dramamine and I knew it wouldn’t be long before my stomach would turn, thankfully I hadn’t eaten anything and I had nothing to expel. I found the boys and jumped in. The visibility was great, 40′, and the water was about 50′ deep, I started doing drops to the bottom to warm up.
We were seeing lots of blues, blacks, medium sized lingcod, and other common fish, but nothing piqued my interest. Nathan and I decided we would move over a little to check on the cave we had found a few weeks before. It didn’t take us long to find the entrance down at 50′ and we each did little swim throughs into the cave and then down to 60′ and then back out through another opening near the main entrance. Back on top Jim called us over to check out another nearby cave. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this was another entrance to the same cave. Nathan got excited on the idea of a swim through but with the surge moving us around it was not a good day for it. The secondary entrance was about 50′ down and the entrance itself was less than 2′ in height, fairly narrow, once inside you would swim down a 30′ corridor that gradually opened up into the main chamber down at 60′. We agreed this would be done on a calmer day and with spotters at both entrance and exit, it will make for a cool 1:30 of video footage.
We left the cave behind and moved again this time to shallower 30-40′ water. Here my luck turned, fully warmed up and feeling good, I slowed myself down and began focusing on relaxing into my dives. I began consistently hitting better and better bottom times. Finally While cruising the bottom I turned a corner and saw my dive buddies working with their hands to pull something from a hole, they ran out of air and swam for the surface and I swam over to take a look. I spotted a small hole the size of a melon and inside I immediately noticed the suckers of a large Giant Pacific Octopus, I concluded that guys had been trying to pull it out from inside the hole and had given up. I didn’t think for a second that I would have any chance of success trying to pull a large octopus out of a small hole and I was almost out of breath, I started to swim for the surface and I planned to recuperate up top before dropping back down to work the hole with the other guys. As I swam up, I tilted my head down and locked my eyes on the hole, from under the rock a long arm slowly stretched itself out and shortly after the mantle and head of a good sized GPO followed. I changed directions and rushed for the exposed neck of the large puss, this being the best spot for leverage on the animal, in a flash I had him peeled from the floor and upside down between my arms while I swam him to the surface. I checked my watch and saw that I had taken the octopus at 35′ and that I had been down 1:35. I was pumped!!!
Nathan needed to head in and I promised him some octopus would find it’s way to him. Jim and I kept diving and in another spot we found large schools of good sized blue rockfish and some nice lingcod looking up at the blues from below, plus a nice cabezon to boot. Once again I was cruising the bottom and then I spotted something red with a strange amoeba like shape. It was yet another Octopus and it was out in the open!!! I swam for him down at 40′ and as I grabbed him his skin flashed a checkerboard of white and black. I brought him up top and called out to Jim to let him know I had scored another. As I struggled with him on the surface the octopus latched its suckers on to my weight belt and it slipped free, Jim arrived just in time to grab my belt while I dealt with the delicious animal. We dove a while longer and moved to other spots, I took blues, a lingcod, and a cabezon but nothing topped the two octopi trapped inside the hatch of my kayak. I had been diving from 8:00 to a little after 2:00, I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink, and I had done over 70 drops to an average depth of about 45′ feet. I was sufficiently exhausted and so I headed in and Jim followed.
Back in the parking lot we met with a lot of the other guys that had called it quits before us. Some were impressed with the two octopi I had scored, but what everyone seemed to be focused on was trying to get an octopus out of the back portion of a sit on top kayak that couldn’t be accessed by the hatches. We stood the kayak on end and shook it, we tried flushing the puss out with fresh water, and eventually we had success using a polespear and flopper tip to pull him towards the bottom of a kayak stood on end. It was interesting. Jim and I then proceeded to bite the octopus between the eyes in an effort to sever its brain stem. It was not done easily. Pictures were taken, beers were drank, and goodbyes were said it was another solid day of diving in beautiful Carmel.