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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Squid Frenzy

6/28/2011

Tonight we had our friends from Taya over for fish curry and when they left to head back to their boat as usual we turned on our spreader lights as a courtesy while they loaded up in their dinghy. After they motored away Bill could see by their phosphorescent trails dozens of fish swimming around us. He grabbed a pole and threw out a lure to see what he could catch. The activity of the lure brought in still more fish and soon there were bait fish swarming in schools all around us.
Following the bait fish were bigger fish and following the bigger fish pelicans joined the party and began diving for their dinner. There wasn’t any action on the lure but as we watched I began to see something odd. Weird looking fish rising all around us. They looked strange and moved strangely too. Oh, they’re squid. They were as long as my arm and just as fat. And they were calling Bills name.

We had picked up a squid lure in Santa Rosalia but had no idea exactly how to catch squid. One thing for certain though the longer the light was on the more came swarming around our boat. I ran down and got the lure and Bill had it rigged and in the water in a flash. It took only a minute to catch our first one.
As he reeled it in I grabbed a bucket with the idea that we would lift it out of the water and into the bucket. No problem, until they squirt. Squid send out jets of water and I swear they have pretty good aim. The first one got the deck and halfway into the cockpit and the second one got a direct hit right to my torso: instantly soaked to the skin with squid water, yuck.
Between the sound of the pelicans hitting the water around, fish jumping, running and schooling, Bills shouting out instructions and me squealing in fright while the creepy things soaked us it was a flurry of activity and noise. The deck and the cockpit cushions were soaked I was soaked and one squid had a direct hit through the port light over the stove filling my galley with saltwater. It was a very noisy and wet 20minutes. We have six big squid in a plastic bag in the fridge -guess the fridge needed to be cleaned out anyway right? Tomorrow we will clean them, fill our freezer and then offer the rest around in the anchorage.

Afterwards we learned some interesting squid trivia which compounds my belief that you will never find me doing night swims unless it’s in a pool. Squid can be huge –upwards to 40 feet. The Mexican fishermen hold the belief that if you end up in the water during a squid fishery you should simply pray. You will not make it back to the boat. They feed in a frenzy meaning once they start to feed they bite everything and anything even turning on the other squid around them. Squid hunt and work in groups teaming up on larger prey. One squid researcher now wears a chainmail suit connected to his research boat with a stainless steel tether after being dragged by a swarm of squid to seventy feet, chewed on and had a collar bone broken nearly losing his life. He escaped and continued his research.
Does anyone have a good recipe for aoli?

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