Massive Squid Pulls SoCal Diver Underwater

Jumbo squid invade San Diego shores, spook divers

By Greg Bledsoe
|  Monday, Jul 20, 2009  |  Updated 4:02 AM CDT
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Why You Don't Want to Play with a Squid

AP

Scientists aren't sure why the squid are swarming off the Southern California coast -- but they are concerned.

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Photos and Videos

Sea Monsters "Rough Up" San Diego Divers

Divers report tentacles enveloping their masks and yanking at their cameras and gear in San Diego. (Video provided by Roger Uzun.)

Why You Don't Want to Play with a Squid

A fishery biologist explains why you don't want to pick up any of the squid that's stranded on local beaches.
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Ever since the squid started washing up on San Diego beaches over the past week, scuba divers have been heading out to get a closer look. One woman got a much closer look than she wanted.

A night dive on Saturday lit up the underwater world for diver Shanda Magill -- octopus, sharks, and Humboldt squid -- the kind of sights you see once, and want to see again as soon as possible.

"Went out for another dive the next night, and that's where things kind of turned around," Magill said laughing.

She was separated from her dive partners.

"All of a sudden, from behind, I got hit really hard," Magill said. "The Humboldt grabbed my high pressure inflator hose, which was strapped here and Velcroed, yanked it backwards and pulled me down… I was terrified, basically I just wanted to get out of the water right then."

Biologists said they're seeing more of these off Southern California in recent years like the ones that washed up on La Jolla beaches Saturday while spectators tried to save them. They say the scuba divers should be more cautious.

"These are very curious aggressive animals.  It could definitely be a problem if people are spooked easily," NOAA Biologist John Hyde said.

The Humboldt squid can grow to weigh 100-pounds and are most likely here following food, Hyde said. He couldn't say how long they'll be sticking around.

"The whole time, I'm thinking that's it, never getting in the water again," Magill said. Since then she has changed her mind. "I'm going diving tonight."

Magill said she has another story to tell -- and absolutely no hard feelings.

"I think more than anything, he just gave me a good scare."
 

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