by Natalie Novak
If aliens landed, the door to their spaceship opened, and the creatures that came out looked like squid, I would not be shocked. For me, it would be one of those ... I-should-have-known moments. Squid have always looked otherworldly to me.
Diving from Akumal Bay, I see squid often, especially in the spring and summer. Like octopus, squid have the ability to change color, but squid are less nocturnal and shy then octopus. When following squid, you can watch them change color from a dusty green-brown to a sky-like blue. Sometimes their color changes in order to camouflage themselves, but other times their color changes seem to reflect their moods, and this helps them communicate with each other.
On a deep dive, above me in the blue, I have even seen a lone squid impersonating a drifting piece of seaweed. His little arms were bent in sharp, 90-degree angles. His body was mostly ocean-blue and those arms were the yellow of floating seaweed. As I slowly approached, he kept up the mimicry even when I was five feet away!
Most of the time when I see squid, they are in a group just above the reef and in mid-water. When I point them out to divers, I often show them the size and number of squid they are looking for. I love the happy and thoughtful faces divers make when they spot a squid for the first time. Most people are mesmerized by them when they change color.
The first picture of a squid was taken by my husband, Ivan, when he was diving a reef in front of Akumal Bay. The second picture were taken by Nostradamus (That is the legal name his mother gave him at birth.) Nostradamus rents digital underwater cameras at the Akumal Dive Center and, thanks to him, Ivan and I are developing a love of underwater photography. If you would like to join me in my search for squid, then check out our Web site below.
Dive Tip: If you do see a squid in the Rivera Maya, stop moving and check above and below it. Most often, squid are found in diagonal lines starting close to the sand or reef and extending into the blue. If you see one, there are often 3 to 20 more shying away. When you move smoothly and don't startle them, they can put on quite a show!
Dive with Natalie & Ivan
More photos by Ivan: