We don’t give animals enough credit for being emotionally intelligent beings. But even octopi in the sea are able to form close bonds with those around them. And in a very tender documentary, a meaningful friendship between a diver and an octopus is explored.
Earlier this month, on September 7th, Netflix released its documentary, “My Octopus Teacher.” It showcases the wonderful relationship between diver Craig Foster and the octopus that he swam with nearly every day for an entire year.
The documentary focused on Foster as he pursued the octopus around his home in a South African kelp forest. Along the way, he documented the world that lies beneath the waves in a very unique and first-hand experience.
Octopi are cephalopods. They are normally very shy and often elusive creatures. However, this particular octopus was quite different.
She seemed genuinely intrigued by the diver, and thus began a very interesting dynamic. The octopus took on the role of Costar’s “teacher,” helping him to discover the underwater world in which he lives. The two began to form a bond as they shared the underwater space.
The octopus turned out to be very intelligent, and in her own way, quite caring and compassionate towards the diver. Foster hasted that he was able to learn a lot from her about what life is like beneath the waves. Together, on their year-long journey, the two experienced many ups and downs – all the experiences that culminated into a beautiful documentary about friendship.
But perhaps the biggest thing that Foster said that he learned from his octopus friend, was how to have empathy for other animals. As he explained in the movie, “What she taught me is to feel that you are part of this place. Not a visitor. And that’s a huge difference.”
With such a huge lesson under his belt, Foster was inspired to create the Sea Change Project. This is described as a “community of scientists, storytellers, journalists and filmmakers who are dedicated to raising awareness of the beauty and ecological importance of South Africa’s kelp forest.”
Craig, alongside Ross Frylinck, first founded the South African nonprofit, Sea Change Trust, back in 2012. And over the years, they have spent hundreds of hours exploring the underwater world which has become like a second home. Through their explorations, they’ve come to better understand the animals living beneath the waves.
Check out the documentary trailer below:
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.