"we were all as bleached and blemishless as cuttlefish"

A cuttlefish
GNU Free Documentation LicenseA cuttlefish - Credit: Raul654, Wikimedia Commons
 Cuttlefish are not, in fact, fish; they are molluscs belonging to the class Cephalopoda (along with the squid, the octopus and the nautilus).

 

 

Living cuttlefish are not bleached.  The reference is to the cuttlebone, the brittle internal structure of gas-filled chambers used for buoyancy control.  Cuttlebones wash up on beaches, white, bleached and frequently blemishless.

 

Cuttlebone
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCuttlebone - Credit: Paul J. Morris