Killer Calamari Scares Away Tourists And Divers Off San Diego

Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) July 22, 2009 -- Thousands of jumbo flying squid, or killer calamari, are pouring up from their customary deep water home and once more terrorizing beach goers and divers in San Diego.

These belligerent 5-foot-long sea giants have razor-sharp beaks and toothy tentacles. They can weigh up to 100 pounds, but are generally only seen in their local habitat, the deep waters off Mexico. The calamari usually hunt in schools of up to 1,200 and can swim up to 15 mph. They can skim over the water to escape from their predators.

The squid's unforeseen journey to sunny South California has scientists spinning in knots of perplexity. From a decline in the squid's natural predators, to global warming, to a shortage of food, all may have contributed to the phenomenon.

Encounters with the foreign-looking cephalopods have shoved many experienced divers out of the water. A local diver Mike Bear revealed "I wouldn't go into the water with them for the same reason I wouldn't walk into a pride of lions on the Serengeti".

Shanda Magill, like other divers, are dragged between their personal safety and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share the sea with these deep-ocean giants. Attracted to the dive lights, some divers report tentacles enveloping their masks and tugging at their cameras and gear.

Magill trod water and watched in amazement as a dozen squid with mournful, expressive eyes encircled her group, patting and tapping the divers and gently bumping them before skimming away, on a recent night dive.

The next night's dive was very different. A massive squid slipped up behind Magill, belting her from behind and grabbing her. The powerful creature snatched her sideways, ripping away her buoyancy hose from her chest and knocking away her light.

When Magill recovered, she had difficulty knowing which was the way to the surface and trouble finding the hose to help her stay afloat as she swam upwards. The squid had left.

I just kicked like crazy. The first thing you think of is, Oh my gosh, I don't know if I'm going to survive this. If that squid wanted to hurt me, it could have" said Magill. Other experienced divers have spoken of squid pulling at their masks and gear and roughing them up.

Veteran scuba diver and amateur underwater videographer, Roger Uzun, swam with a school of the creatures for approximately of 20 minutes. "They appeared more curious than hostile. They taste with their tentacles and seemed to be touching me and my wet suit to found out if I was edible".

Veteran scuba diver and amateur underwater videographer, Roger Uzun, swam with a school of the creatures for approximately of 20 minutes. "They appeared more curious than hostile. They taste with their tentacles and seemed to be touching me and my wet suit to found out if I was edible".

The Humboldt squid are dubbed "red devils" for their rust-red coloring and mean streak. Divers are often inside metal cages, or wear chain mail, to prevent being cut by tentacles.

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Press Release Submitted On: July 22, 2009 at 6:07 pm
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