El Squid Tango

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by Núria Forns

Willem, Jane, Roger and I have been in Tioman for 20 days now. As we’ve been regularly doing since we got here, this morning we got on the bum boat and headed out for a couple of dives, which usually come with lunch and tea or coffee, and of course with a few dips in Indo-Pacific waters.  Our dive plans for today were the following: Willem, Jane and Roger would do a 20 meter population count of crown of thorns, while I would do some more fish point outs (FPO) with Katie, the boss, since it seems like I have stumbled upon the most prepared class of volunteers in Blue Ventures.

So, after a while of FPO, where I was getting them all right, by the way :), the most beautiful scene occurred. A group of about 30 squid, males and females, were performing a series of unusual movements. We first saw them down at ground level where the females were hiding eggs under some hard coral, while the males were hovering right on top of them in what seemed to be a protective position. A few minutes later, they all swam up near the surface, and each and every couple engaged in the most sophisticated courtship dance. They would move back and forward, barely caressing each other, and then they would swim vertically while intertwining tentacles to share genetic information. After another few minutes they went down to the coral again and continued with the egg laying task.

Katie and I were bedazzled by El Squid Tango for a while before we realised we were running out of air.