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Edmonds Discovery Programs
A Leader in Conservation Education since 1980

 

As you sip your coffee in warmth and comfort in the lounge of a Washington State ferry running between Edmonds and Kingston and look out across the steel blue waters of Puget Sound’s Admiralty Inlet, consider for a minute the abyss that lies below.

Light fails in the cold watery depths after a mere 50 feet.  Plunging deeper still, the water becomes more saline and home to some truly strange residents.  Up to 900 feet deep in places Puget Sound is sometimes home to the third largest species of squid in the world.

Giant Squid

Onykia robusta, the Robust Clubhook Squid, can grow to a maximum mantle length of 2 meters (making it the third largest squid after the Giant Squid and the Colossal squid). This species appears to follow sockeye salmon into Puget Sound during that fish's annual return from the open ocean during spawning season. 

While the depths of Puget Sound are saltier than the surface, they are significantly less salty than the open Pacific.  The “sweeter” waters of the Sound greatly impact the health of these large predatory squid, and they soon become sick and die, floating up to the surface and washing ashore.

So every few years, a large specimen of these giant squid wash-up on an area beach and are found by beachcombers.  These photographs were taken by Jim Newsom of an animal washed up on the beach near Three Tree Point back in 2003.  The most recent time one of these giants was found on an Edmonds beach was in September of 2001.

 
Squid
 
Giant Squid