First rant on the books is kind of a safe one, my gripe is with no one in particular or even with a systematic issue. It’s about shark week publicity and the fact that people have the wrong fears when considering the dangers of the deep. I realize there are some people who have experienced shark attacks, be we also have to realize we are loitering in their home. I enjoy the ocean, swimming in it, surfing in it, sailing, watching it as the sunset glimmers off the waves. But there is one terrifying truth about the ocean that I believe is greatly overlooked because the public is too blinded by their infatuation with sharks as the apex predator of the sea. Cephalopods ought to be at the forefront of any beach goers mind whenever they enter the ocean. When I broach this argument, usually it is written off as an irrational fear, but I know that the largest giant pacific octopus, with a wingspan exceeding 30 feet, was found off the coast of Santa Barbara, a coast I used to frequent. I recognize the spawn of the Kraken when I see it, and that must mean there are more out there that have not been caught.
Let me ask you this, how many shark based mythological creatures are based off of sharks verses based off of squid or octopuses. Yea, you can’t think of any ship sinking shark monsters aside from Jaws, and science had proven him to be animatronic. Cephalopods on the other hand are terrifying, and have haunted the mythology of numerous seafaring cultures from Greek to Scandinavian to Hawaiian. They have even inspired the art and mythos of H.P. Lovecraft and his predecessors as the harbinger of evil, chaos, and the end of days. My biggest seemingly “irrational” fear is a sentient giant octopus; once they figure out that they can outcompete us is nearly every way, it is only a matter of time before they mount a guerrilla style attack on the human race.
We get an annual reminder of how scary sharks can be by networks that have since run out of original program ideas. The scariest sharks only reside in the photic and epipelagic zones, which are relatively shallow levels compared to the true depth of the open ocean. Though this is also the area most frequently visited by humans, it does not qualify sharks as apex predators; rather they are the best players in the minor league. Put them up against the true monsters of the mesopelagic and below, and you will find that sharks have merely adapted to avoid them at all costs.
But how often are we told to recognize the real enemy of the deep. Let’s go over a list of all the things that make cephalopods. Camouflage, cephalopods can change their color to hide in plain sight. Octopuses can change their texture and shape to match virtually any surrounding. Squid and cuddle fish use their pigmentation abilities to communicate. They are smart SOB’s too; they learn from watching each other, can solve complicated puzzles, keep track of sequenced events, and again, COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER. They can fit through any opening they can get their beak through, conforming the rest of their squishy body to any size they need. They attack like a bouquet of anacondas covered in suction cups connected by a parachute of webbing. If they don’t swaddle you to death, then they still have a gnashing beak that can strip flesh off a skeleton like a parrot eating a papaya. Apex predator, sharks are a minor threat, ‘nuff said.