A Spanish galleon carrying silver bullions was wrecked and sunk by a storm off the Colombian coast. Seven divers already tried to reach the treasure at the bottom of the sea. None of them got back to the boat. The wreckage of the merchant ship was partially buried in the sand 64 meters below the sea surface. The wreckage seemed to be cursed.
The fearless Garry Reeseberg, a famous American diver, went down to inspect the site. He found a skeleton of his predecessor near the hull of the ship. A diving helmet was still on the skull, and a diving suit was badly torn. The brave American had to surface fast because his air supply line was mysteriously damaged. Reeseberg took another dive two days later. Here is a quotation from his book Gold of the Wrecked Ships: “I suddenly had a weird and unpleasant feeling of being watched by somebody in close proximity.”
The feeling was so intense that the diver began to turn moving his searchlight all around. To his dismay he saw a giant figure towering above him. The huge frame filled the doorway so the diver could not retreat. It looked like the worst nightmare of a junkie. A disgusting barrel-like body was covered with thousands of warts, it was continuously swinging from side to side by jerks and twists. The monster’s tentacles were about 15 feet long while its bulky body measured around 4 feet in diameter. The long sticky tentacles were covered with hundreds of suckers the size of a saucer. The colors were slowly changing from deep yellow to light brown to a shade of grey on the verge of white. “The demonic eyes of that vampire were watching my every move,” says Reeseberg in his book. He somehow managed to cut off three tentacles of the monster in a cruel fight that followed. The ending of the story looks a bit strange. Why on earth did the octopus use only one of its arms struggling with the diver? Why did not it put to use the complete set of the tentacles, the whole eight of them?
The diver was lucky to stick his knife in a jugular vein, which is “the only unprotected spot on the body of an octopus.” However, the monster managed to squeeze the diver really tight and damage his diving suit before kicking the bucket. Reeseberg’s shoulder was wounded, he began to bleed and soon passed out. He came around lying in a decompression chamber of the diving boat. His assistant saved him life by ordering two local divers to check the situation on the wreckage. The locals cut him loose of the dead octopus’s hug and brought him up to the surface.
Victor Hugo was wrong when he maintained that an octopus had no beak. All animals belonging to Cephalopoda are equipped with a crooked beak pointing upward. It is located at the junction of an octopus’s arms/legs. The beak is a powerful weapon enabling the creature to tear up its enemies and crush the shells of the crustaceans. The beak is concealed in the folds of the body and barely seen when an animal is undisturbed. According to Hugo, “an octopus’s embrace holds you tighter than the jaws of a vise. It’s like being attacked by an air-operated pump. You have to deal with emptiness armed with tentacles… The abhorrent creature reaches out to envelop you in a thousand of disgusting mouthparts…” Hugo’s description of the animal points out that an octopus has one more mouth opening apart from its numerous suckers. The mouth is even more hideous than the other ones. “A single hole was gaping at the center of the monster. What is it? Is it a mouth or an anus? Both! The same opening works both ways serving as an entrance and exit at the same time.” In actuality, the anal opening is always clearly separated from the mouth in all mollusks including Cephalopada. Even Aristotle was aware of the fact. An octopus’s mouthpart is located at the junctions of the animal’s tentacles while its anus is hidden under the “mantle.”
Translated by Guerman Grachev
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