Snorkeling with Squid in Tobago Cays
What an unexpected treat! When we moored our sailboat in the Tobago Cays on day 6 of our 10 day St. Lucia / Grenadines / Grenada bareboat sailing trip, we were ready to get wet and cool off. The Tobago Cays are an archipelago located in the southern Grenadines comprising five small islands and extensive coral reefs. We had heard the snorkeling would be good and we were excited to see numerous turtles swimming at the surface even before we got to the turtle sanctuary. What we didn’t expect was to find a squadron of reef squid just hanging out 10 feet from our catamaran.
A School or a Shoal or a Squad?
There were more than 50 reef squid swimming in formation. None of the squid were more than 8 inches long. After exhaustive internet research, we have learned that a group of squid is called a “shoal”, although some are lobbying for a name change to “squad” which makes sense to us. There was a slight current, so their swimming really just kept them in place, right next to our boat.
Curious, but Cautious
They seemed very curious about us and let us get quite close – but not too close. It was fun to watch them change colors – sometimes to match their background – sometimes to show emotion. Since they were close to the surface, their color also changed based on when the sun was out or behind a cloud. From the top, their “normal” coloring is a mottled yellowish brown with lots of spots, but from the side they are mostly red with a huge eye that looks very alien. They stayed just deep enough that we kept free diving to see them better. Would love to observe a squad like this while scuba diving!
All of the squid looked alike with one exception. This one was much narrower and longer and consistently red or clear in color. Why he was hanging out with the others, we don’t know but squid apparently don’t discriminate like humans. Bless their little hearts.
Trying to catch some video with a GoPro was a challenge but great fun. We think we got some great clips of color change and their maneuverability. Hopefully, you can see why we were so enthralled.
The squid squad stayed with us for two full days!
They are fascinating and didn’t seem to mind that we jumped in to watch them from time to time.
While at the Tobago Cays we saw the location where the deserted island scene in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” was filmed! We also experienced a wonderful beach barbeque (lobster), more snorkeling in the Tobago Cays Marine Turtle Sanctuary with green and hawksbill turtles, plus excellent diving with Dive Grenadines (but that’s another story)!