By Mark Hoiland | Turks & Cacios
If you’ve ever tried to go hunting for lobsters, you’ll quickly find that it isn’t as easy as reaching down and scooping them up. On my last trip to the Turks and Caicos, I was out snorkeling in the water behind our villa, and had discovered that there were tail lobsters hanging out after low tide. A number of years prior, on a trip to the Bahamas, I had learned from a local gentleman that the only way to catch lobsters was to hook them. If you aren’t careful, they will quickly bury themselves into whatever rock they were hanging out on, deep into a hole that may not be the smartest to stick your hand into.
I decided that I would quickly run into the house and make a hook from a coat hanger, some tape and a stick. When I got back, my hook (quickly made and poorly constructed) promptly fell apart in my effort to hook the lobsters. During all the commotion, I managed to disturb an octopus that had been lolling about near the lobster’s rock. Curious, I hooked the octopus and brought him in to take a better look. After examining the octopus, and releasing him back into the water, I swam away in pursuit of more lobsters when I felt something akin to a kidney punch slam into my side.
The octopus had returned! Octopuses are fairly aggressive by nature, and I had clearly managed to offend this one that was repeatedly ramming its head into my side. To avoid getting hit again, I reached out and grabbed the octopus at which point he promptly wrapped himself around my hand. Since I couldn’t dislodge him, I stood up (the water that I had been snorkeling in was only about waist deep) to better attempt to pry him off. At that point, my wife, who was standing around the corner, made her way over to see why I had been splashing around and making such a fuss. When she discovered the octopus on my arm, she quickly called our six other friends down to the dock.
Given the situation, I was more then inclined to fry the whole thing up for supper, but kinder hearts prevailed and the octopus (after inking me several times) was finally set free. Although he had lost a couple of tentacles, once he was back in the water he still made a show of indignantly zooming away from me in three fell swoops. At that point, since I had neither lobster nor octopus for my dinner, I went back inside to reinforce my hook. When I returned with the Cadillac edition of lobster hooks, my lobsters (probably scared by the octopus) had unfortunately, vanished.