Diver Befriends an Octopus Who Teaches Him About Her Elusive Aquatic World in ‘My Octopus Teacher’

The Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher tells the story of Craig Foster, a diver who forged a profound friendship with a gentle octopus with whom he visited every day for a year. Foster followed the octopus around the South African kelp forest and documented the underwater world that he was able to witness firsthand.

While cephalopods are known to be elusive, this particular octopus seemed happy to become Foster’s teacher. Together the two explored the waters, encountering breathtaking excitement, near-misses, and heartbreaks. The octopus proved herself to be highly intelligent and perhaps even loving in her own way.

A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.

My Octopus Teacher

Foster stated that this tiny cephalopod taught him to have empathy for animals.

What she taught me is to feel that you are part of this place. Not a visitor. And that’s a huge difference.

With this lesson in hand, he co-founded the Sea Change Project, 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 Foster and Ross Frylinck founded the Sea Change Trust in 2012, a South African nonprofit. Through hundreds of hours of underwater exploration, they have come to understand this unique environment and the community of creatures that live within it. To date, we have generated millions of rands worth of publicity for our kelp forest.

Sea Change Project interviewed the film’s director Pippa Ehrlich about how the documentary was made.

via Nag on the Lake

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.