It was the chance to see some dolphins that led Reg Connon out on his friend’s fishing boat.
But he ended up coming face to face with a very different member of the Moray Firth marine life.
The 66-year-old mechanic asked his neighbour, Duncan Masson, if he could join him next time he went out to check his creels so he could spot the regular dolphin visitors along the coast.
The pair headed out from Banff Harbour and reached Mr Masson’s first creel around 500 yards from the shoreline.
It was here they discovered the nets had caught something they didn’t expect – an octopus.
“The only time I’ve seen one before was at the Macduff Aquarium so I was quite excited to see and touch one,” Mr Connon said.
“We took some photographs and then put it back in the water which was not as easy a task as I thought it would be.
“It was stuck to the deck like glue but eventually we got it free and returned it to the water.”
Mr Connon said the creature’s head was around the size of a “large orange” and its tentacles were around 12 inches long.
Claire Matthews, aquarium manager at Macduff Marine Aquarium, said this type of octopus was quite common in this part of the world.
She said: “This type of octopus is very commonly found along our shorelines. The lesser or curled octopus tend to hang out in the reef, rocky areas, and they don’t tend to stray too far from their den.”
- The Latin name for the lesser octopus is Eledone cirrhosacorr
- They can grow to up to 50cm
- They are most commonly found in kelp forest and rocky reefs edging the shore, from subtidal waters to 100m depth
- Their lifespan is around two years
- They eat crabs and other crustaceans
- If you come across one, release it gently back into the sea. If you come across one when diving, watch it for a while as they are fascinating.