SEASIDE, Ore. - Dozens of really large Humboldt Squid are stranding on the north coast – and they’re making a rather spectacular sight by freezing immediately on the beaches and staying intact.
It’s a little like the inundation of Humboldt Squid last year, except that incident spread all the way to the Puget Sound. This time, staff from Seaside Aquarium are getting reports of squid from Warrenton all the way down to Pacific City.
Aquarium staff found 16 of them Wednesday, but have gotten reports of another two dozen between Seaside and Gearhart.
What makes this incident unusual is the cold temperatures of the beaches are freezing these creatures where they land, and the rather spectacular size of many of them. One was actually still alive, but died soon after being found.
The squid were 4 to 5 feet in length and weighed a little over 25 pounds. One was as tall as aquarium employee Tiffany Boothe, seen in the photo below.
Because they’ve frozen on the sand, each has been remarkably preserved. Usually, shore birds go after the eyes – but they’ve left them alone so far. They’ve also left interesting prints frozen in the sand, with icy sea water all around them.
“These squid typically reside in warmer waters off of California and Mexico, but every once in a while they will follow an offshore warm water current,” Boothe said. “When these currents dissipate, the squid get caught in water far too cold for them to handle and they get hypothermic and die. The current that brought the squid this far north was probably responsible for the recent sea turtle stranding.”
Andre' Hagestedt is the editor of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, a travel news and entertainment Web site about the upper half of Oregon’s coast. He has been a journalist for nearly 15 years, having been employed at or written for a variety of media organizations throughout the Northwest. He lives in Portland and in Manzanita part time, and admits he is "so obsessed with the Oregon coast that it's ready to take a restraining order out on him."