Orphaned octopus finds a new home on shipwreck

By on August 16, 2011

Opal, an octopus who grew up at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, was released off Oregon Inlet over the weekend to take up residence at the site of a sunken tanker.

A fisherman found Opal a year ago at Oregon Inlet clinging to a piece of driftwood on shore. She was small enough to fit inside a half-inch pipe fitting.

Over the next year, the aquarium reports, she grew to two feet and was ready for release.

Capt. Rick Mayer and mate Will Baughman aboard the 53-foot charter Fishin’ Frenzy took the animal to the site of the San Delphino, a 463-foot long British tanker in a depth of 200 feet.

Assisting was Eileen Cicotello, aquarist at the Aquarium.

“She was placed in the water, she looked back and then disappeared, as to say goodbye one last time,” Cicotello said in an aquarium news release.

Aquarists try not to become attached to the animals since they are still considered wild. While in captivity, Opal entertained visitors while she learned what she needed to survive in the wild.

One of her activities was pulling the pieces off a Mr. Potato Head.

Photos courtesy of Fishin’ Frenzy Charters and N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island.


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Happy Barracuda

August 21, 2011 6:39 pm

Did a scuba diver take the octopus down to the wreck and place in a secure hole? Or did they just drop it in the water over the wreck. If the latter, the octopus never made it to the bottom. Large fish would have eaten it before it came close to the wreck.

Russ Lay

August 20, 2011 10:07 am

Cool story. I found a baby octopus clinging to driftwood at the Little Hatteras surf fishing tourney last year. He had washed ashore on the beach. I took the little guy back out to the ocean, but not before he/she bit me with that beak!!

Amanda VanDyke

August 17, 2011 1:42 pm

Yay Opal! So glad you found your way home! Ü

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