This post continues my observations of octopuses at the Pipeline site, Nelson Bay. I’ve been spending a bit of time there, watching the site’s recovery – especially the recovery of the soft corals, and all the life around them. These photos are from late November.
I concentrate on an area east of the Pipeline itself, probably pretty close to where the amazing field of soft corals was before their decline. On each dive in this sequence I saw something like six or eight octopuses (very conservative counts), sometimes with dens established within two meters of each other (see this post).
I came across this octopus in his den.
As I watched, he came forward..
Above you can see a piece of shell he’s holding at the front. He kept coming, steadily..
Soon he was quite far out, still making his way forward..
And right about here, though I don’t have a photo of the moment,
.. he propelled and dumped that shell you can see in one of the photos above. He then went straight back to his den. He’d come out all that way just to drop off a shell, it seemed, whose contents he’d eaten and that he was not interested in having around as part of his den.
He didn’t like that one? A hygienic behavior? Or just messing around?
Here’s a photo of another octopus’ den from that dive.
You can see the owner’s eye, in the middle of the dark space.
Also from that dive, here’s a photo of an especially vivacious soft coral:
(The top photo is a different crop of the fifth.)