Giant squid on the assault
A French boat attacked by a giant squid in the Atlantic. Return the Kraken?

A representation of the giant squid (Architeutis dux). © Seawifs / Nasa
A representation of the giant squid (Architeutis dux).
© Seawifs / Nasa

A French trimaran, who was attempting to set a new non-stop world tour record, was assaulted, according to the crew, by a giant squid in the Atlantic Ocean. The incident occurred at night off Madeira, when Olivier de Kersauson, a well-known French sailor, felt abnormal vibrations. After stopping the hull, the crew grabbed the lamps and lit up the area where the shots seemed to come from. He saw then a huge squid that had grabbed at the helm of the boat. After the boat had completely stopped, the squid, whose tentacles were larger than those of a human arm, gave up its grip. Most likely the giant squid belongs to the genus Architeutis, of which two or more species are known (such as Architeuthis princeps or A. dux). These animals live at great depth and probably feed on fish and other molluscs; they are in turn the prey of large cetaceans, sperm whales. Not much else is known about these species, except that the attacks on boats, although very rare, have remained in the history of navigation. The ancient sailors called them Kraken.

(News updated January 16, 2003)