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Diver Befriends a Friendly Octopus and It Changes His Life

There’s a documentary on Netflix that you need to watch. Now, not everyone loves documentaries, but they’re becoming more and more popular. Besides, this one isn’t very long and it’s different from anything I’ve ever seen before. “My Octopus Teacher” was released this year and it tells the story of a diver named Craig Foster and his unlikely BFF and teacher, an octopus. Directed by James Reed and Pippa Ehrloich, the film stars Foster, also the producer of the documentary. In the documentary, a year of Foster’s life is captured as he befriends a wild octopus. Foster followed the octopus for most of her life.

Made in partnership with the Sea Change Project, Off the Fence, and ZDF Enterprises, the film took a full 10 years to make, with cinematography by Roger Horrocks, who is also an underwater cameraman. The project started in 2010 when Foster started freediving at the tip of South Africa in a cold underwater kept forest. As he began to film his experiences, it wasn’t long before he met a curious young female octopus who captured his attention. At one point he thought, “What would happen if I just came here every day?” He decided to find out, and before long, the octopus began to trust him.

The relationship that Foster forged with the octopus profoundly impacted his entire life. In the film, you will see the octopus at one point defending herself against pajama sharks. In one attack, she even loses an arm and is forced to retreat to her den to allow herself to recover and regenerate the arm. Later, she mates with another octopus and produces a lot of eggs. At that point, she dies. In the end, the film shows a shark dragging away the dead octopus’s body. Eventually, Foster’s son became a diver and a student of marine life.

Foster’s unique experience with the octopus allowed him to document her underwater world and see firsthand what her life was like. Every day for a year, Foster spent time with her and she became his teacher. They explored together, encountered breathtaking excitement, near-misses, and eventually, heartbreak. It sounds a lot like life. Watch the trailer below.

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