A few months ago, the cliff slid into the sea, taking Babbacombe bay from top Devon dive spot to silty soup. When Saeed Rashid tweeted pictures of cuttlefish in clear blue water, and said, “Get down there soon,” we didn’t hang around.
Babbacombe is a beautiful sheltered spot just around the headland from Torquay. It’s a relatively easy shore dive, with Wayne’s beach café serving up jumbo sausage surface intervals on seafront tables and chairs. The cuttlefish waited just a few metres out to sea and joined us on every dive. We had three days of glorious sunshine, five dives, and almost every cuttlefish mating behaviour our crossed fingers could deliver. The biggest group – eight cuttlefish – had three mating pairs with two spare males waiting for an unguarded moment to slip their genes into the melting pot.
I filmed over two hours of mating, male/female tenderness, egg laying, male bravado and aggression, camouflage colour changes, and females tending their eggs; all in shallow water with natural light, balanced to show vivid cuttlefish colours. I then filmed cuttlefish caught in pots just outside the bay. But… more about that soon.
We’re making a short film about these beautiful cuttlefish to tell the story of their annual mating ritual and to show the impact of fishing practices. Here’s a taste of the images. Stay tuned for the story.