Unalaska receives surprise visitor from the deep

Apr 13, 2017

Large clubhook squid washed ashore in Unalaska Monday, bringing a steady stream of onlookers for the rare sighting.

Seeing a robust clubhook squid in the wild is pretty rare.
Credit Zoe Sobel / KUCB

Carlin Enlow has lived in Unalaska her entire life, all 22 years. This is the first time she’s seen a squid washed up on the beach.

“The only time I’ve seen something this big is down in the Seward Sea Life Center,” Enlow said. “They have a giant squid that I think they caught up here or washed up here.”

Enlow found out about the squid on Facebook and made her way down to the beach after 10:00 p.m.

“It’s kind of one of those things where it’s like, ‘That’s awesome!'” Enlow said “And you think, oh I can rush down right now or is that a photo from a couple days ago? Did I miss it? This is a good little field trip.”

An Unalaskan sees if he is as long as the beached squid.
Credit Zoe Sobel / KUCB

The chance to see the beached squid has brought out a steady stream of Unalaska residents, from on-duty police officers to parents with kids wiping sleep from their eyes.

But how rare is it to see a big squid on the beaches in Unalaska?

According to Sea Grant agent Melissa Good it’s more common to see beached whales or other marine mammals.

“My guess would be because [marine mammals] are living near the surface, whereas large squid are going to spend the majority of their time in the deep sea, so it’s less likely that they would wash up,” Good said.

Although large, this is not a giant squid. Good thinks this squid is a robust clubhook squid.

Unalaska is in the middle of its natural range which stretches from Southern California to the Gulf of Alaska through the Aleutian Islands. But seeing this species in the wild is pretty rare.

As to why it died? Good doesn’t know.

But less than a day after it washed up, it’s gone. She thinks eagles and foxes made a meal out of it.

“It’s become a food source,” Good said. “I like calamari. Other things probably like calamari, too!”

A more than six-foot long squid washed up in Unalaska Monday.
Credit Zoe Sobel / KUCB