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Giant Squid Encounter

On October 26, 1873, an unusual event occurred in the Community of Portugal Cove. Three fellow boat-mates, Tommy Picco, Theophilus Picco, and Daniel Squires were out on the water when the encounter occurred. A "Devil Fish" attacked the skiff, threatening to take the men with it. 12-year-old Tommy Picco, possibly saved the men's lives by quickly cutting off the creature's arms with a hatchet and freed the boat. The larger of the two tentacles was brought ashore and fed to the dogs. The smaller tentacle, which was 19 feet in length, was brought to Reverend Moses Harvey. Harvey was a collector of biological curiosities, and hoped he could identify the creature that had attacked the boat. Using the description of the creature by the men and the tentacle handed to him; Reverend Harvey identified the monster as a giant squid. By using the 19-foot tentacle, Harvey has estimated that the total length of the squid was approximately 72 feet long. Up until 1997, there have been a total of 15 of these unusual giant squid found off the coast of Newfoundland. Because of the number of these in our waters, we are said to have the highest concentration of giant squid in the world. The uniqueness of Portugal Cove with regards to Tommy Picco's "Devil Fish" is that this was the site of the first authenticated human encounter with a giant squid. ...................... historical account from the Portugal Cove Historical Society.


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