A pair of divers and the manager for the Discovery Passage Aquarium gathered together at the Tyee Spit on a cloudy fall morning to celebrate World Octopus Day (Oct 8).
The plan was to set Midnight – the aquarium’s latest tentacled resident – free.
DPA Manager Ricky Belanger said the female Giant Pacific Octopus was starting to get bored since the aquarium shuttered its doors for the season.
“There’s no people to look at,” he said.
That being said, she was a little bit hesitant to leave her tank. Belanger said she was clinging to the walls as he cajoled her into a little bait box for the trip to the sea.
Midnight was the second octopus the catch-and-release aquarium housed this summer.
Daisy the Octopus was found close to Sayward in much deeper water, and had to be returned to the ocean during the heat wave, as she was showing some signs of stress.
Friday morning was the perfect time to release Midnight.
‘It’s easy to transport animals this time of year, because the ambient air temperature is perfect,” Belanger explained.
“Lower temps are less stressful than high temps.”
He was confident she was going to do quite well in her return to the sea.
“I’ve got no concerns about her ability to re-adapt,” he said. “Octopus are very intelligent.”
The aquarium were feeding Midnight the type of prey species she would ordinarily catch in the world, and she would dispatch them quickly and viciously Belanger noted.
After a brief photo shoot with her, Oceanfix.ca Dive Centre’s Shannon Groenewegen, and Addison Campbell took Midnight and dipped into the water.
She was placed in a nice empty den they had seen octopuses use before.
“She took a little coaxing,” Campbell said after resurfacing, but reassured everyone she fit in perfectly.
Belanger said he expects her to stick around for at least a day or so, and plans on asking recreational divers to check in on her to ensure she’s doing well.