Volume 10, Number 10
March 9, 2005
Editor: Joseph Trainor
CTHULU'S D-DAY IN
Well, it looks as if the squid assault on the beaches of Orange
County was just a diversion. Cthulu and his undersea legions are
making their main effort in the San Francisco Bay area.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported "the
arrival of another species of giant squid, the Humboldt
squid, also called the 'jumbo squid,' offshore of the Bay
area and along much of the Pacific Coast."
"They average 15 to 60 pounds and generally
measure up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long, but there is a
historical record of one that reached 700 pounds. They have
not been seen in significant numbers off the Pacific Coast
"But here they are, these giant squid, not
hundreds, not thousands, but millions of them. They have
roared in from the depths across the Pacific to within 20
miles (32 kilometers) of Half Moon Bay and Bodega Bay.
Many others have been detected in southern Baja (California),
San Diego and even Oregon and Washington."
"Like their 60-foot (18-meter) cousins from
the deepwater trenches, they are voracious predators.
They have 10 tentacles, including two long tentacles
they use to pull their prey to their razor-sharp beaks."
"Their tentacles are lined with teeth-lined
sucker cups and, with 24 micro-teeth in each cup, each
squid has over 25,000 teeth. They school in warm waters
and then come up to swarm in maniacal feeding frenzies.
When set off, they will even eat each other and anything
else in their path."
"They are roaming the canyons amid underwater seamounts
off the Bay area, 400 to 2,000 (120 to 600 meters) deep, and
they can fire up to the surface, swarming around boats by the
hundreds. Those aboard gawk in disbelief as the squid swirl and
surge in 20-foot (6-meter) blasts from their water jets, changing
from the classic white-beach color to black, red or opaque with a
"The discovery started on New Year's Day (Saturday, January 1,
2005) on a scientific research trip out of Bodega Bay run by Rick Powers
aboard the New Sea Angler. Powers had volunteered his boat for a
research trip by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) to study rockfish reproduction at Cordell Bank."
"'I was looking for chilipepper rockfish, so we ran to the deep water
at the Bank, 380 to 450 feet (130 to 175 meters) of water, and looking at
my fishfinder, I saw this little mark at the bottom,' he said, 'We let down
and started hauling giant squid.'"
"In the past three weeks, the discovery had turned into a phenomenon."
"In 13 trips on the New Sea Angler to Cordell Bank, a total of 640
people (40 per trip) have caught some 9,000 squid, taking an average of
14 squid per person. The average squid has been 20 pounds, with the
largest weighing 58 pounds, caught by Pat Martin of Sacramento,"
California's state capital. "Most fishermen are going home with 150 to
200 pounds of one-inch (2.5-centimeter) thick calamari steaks."
"Out of Half Moon Bay, Captain Tom Mattusch had similar success
when he made the first squid-hunting trip in his boat, Huli Cat. His first
trip, with six people aboard, was a shock, catching 53 squid. It was the
first time that Humboldt squid had ever been taken by recreational
anglers off Half Moon Bay."
"In San Diego this past week, it was a similar story, where 51
anglers aboard the boat New Seaforth caught 290 squid."
"And yet you can get skunked just as easily, as Powers reported
from a trip last weekend. The squid were so voracious and such fast
swimmers that they were continually on the move in their search for
food. 'Now you see them, now you don't."
"Most credit the arrival of the giant squid in these waters to the
nation's mild El Nino event, where the water is 54 to 57 degrees
(Fahrenheit) off the Bay area coast instead of a more typical 47 to
52 degrees" in February.
"Sunfish, also known as mola molas, more
typical to southern California waters, have also been
spotted in the Gulf of Farallones in the past two weeks.
According to scientists, these squid will eat 10 to 25 pounds
of meat daily and can grow an inch (2.5 centimeters) in
that day, and yet they live only a year to two."
"Yet it can get crazier. When you bring
one to the surface, hundreds of giant squid can suddenly
surround the boat, and they can start attacking each other.
According to one story, one squid was being gaffed at the
rail--another squid shot into the air and attacked the
gaffe, and then several more appeared and attacked the
(See the San Francisco Chronicle for February 28, 2005,
"They came from beneath the sea. Just like in 1930. Giant
squid crowd Bay area by the millions." Many thanks to Terry
Duckworth, "the Archimagos Maximus of Tsathoggua," for this