It is mating season for the Cuttlefish in the Netherlands. When the water temperature reaches 12 degrees Celsius the Cuttlefish immigrate from the North Sea to the Oosterschelde (and elsewhere along the Dutch coast) to shallower water. They are looking for the right place to mate and place their eggs. Those eggs will hatch around 8 weeks later. The older animals will die from exhaustion after the mating process. During summertime evidence of this can be found all over the beaches of Holland where you will find the remains (the internal shell) of the squid.
Every year this event is a tourist attraction for many scuba diver, national as international. Sometimes divers as far away as France will come to Holland to watch this event. Every year it's a gamble where the Cuttlefish will settle. So many divers try to help nature along by building certain tents or so called tipi's. They are called tipi's because of the way they look after an Indian tent. Sometimes several villages can be found below the Dutch waters.
The diver is hoping that his tipi will look attractive enough to the Cuttlefish for mating and placing their egg sacks. There are certain rules while building a Cuttlefish prime location. The best material is willow branches, not to thick. Keep the branches clean from algae and seaweed. Place your tent at a depth of around 6 to 10 meters. All though the tips above are no guarantee that they will settle here.
Photo's thanks to Calamaris DivingIf your lucky enough you'll attract a Cuttlefish which will rent your tipi for this mating season. After mating they will place their egg sacks on the sticks of the tent and around 8 weeks later you will be able to watch the birth of the next generation of Cuttlefish. An amazing story I haven't been lucky enough to be part of yet. I'm hoping I'll get the change this year!
Off course sometimes it doesn't always goes like planned. The squid can decide it doesn't like your tipi, or they are on a different spot this year then last year or you have just forgot where you planned your tent. You won't be the first diver it happens to. Then there is the weather which can mess things up. Like last week the weather in Holland was that bad that scuba diving was almost impossible. Because of the hard winds and rain there was no visibility at all. Good luck finding the Cuttlefish then, you won't see him even if he's floating a meter in front of you.
One location in the Oosterschelde is known for the many Cuttlefish settling there. It's a mystery if this is natural of because of the whole villages of tipi's built by divers. It does create opportunities to go in search of these animals. The dive site is called 'Bergse Diepsluis' near the city of Bergen op Zoom. A site I will visiting quite often the next few weeks.