“Opal” the Octopus Released

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“Opal” the Octopus Released

Aug 16, 2011

This past Saturday, August 13, 2011, Oregon Inlet Captain Greg Mayer, mate Will Baughman, and the 53’ charter boat “Fishin Frenzy” assisted Eileen Cicotello, aquarist at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, in the release of “Opal” the octopus into the warm waters off  Oregon Inlet.

With careful attention to her continued good health, preparations began at 3 a.m. for her trip to the San Delphino, a 463-foot long British tanker, located 200 feet into the depths of the water just east of Oregon Inlet.

Opal was found at Oregon Inlet by a fisherman as she held tight to a small piece of drift wood on the shore.  She spent the next year at the Aquarium as she grew from a small animal that could live in a 1/2” PVC plastic pipe, fitting to about 24 inches in total length, to outgrowing her exhibit at the aquarium.

Cicotello said, “She had great color,” indicating the trip had not stressed Opal.  “She was placed in the water, she looked back and then disappeared, as if to say goodbye one last time,” Cicotello continued.

Aquarists try not to become attached to the animals they take care of at the aquarium, as they are still considered wild.  But Opal was taught many husbandry behaviors as a part of her overall animal care, and she enjoyed enriching activities such as pulling the pieces off a “Mr. Potato Head.”  Opal was a real crowd pleaser with her playful antics.  She will be missed while she enjoys her new home in the “Water of the Outer Banks.”

Photo credit:  NCARI & Fishin Frenzy Charters


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