A Friendship Like No Other

Credit: https://www.kingsmegaplex.com/post/my-octopus-teacher-2020

Local South African documentary, My Octopus Teacher, has opened people up to a whole new underwater world. This Netflix original documentary set in a kelp forest off the coast of False Bay has gained international recognition by winning the Academy Award and Bafta award for Best Documentary.

When one thinks of a teacher, the last image that comes to mind is a sea creature with tentacles. This is something that seasoned filmmaker, Craig Foster, also didn’t expect to find. After hitting a bit of a slump in his life, he decided to find himself again and started going diving every day. He met a fascinating creature that over time became an acquaintance, friend, and teacher. The more time Foster spent with the octopus, the more comfortable she became around him, and a certain level of trust was established.

While watching the documentary, one forgets that this a documentary about life underwater as you are completely captivated by the dynamics of this unusual relationship. From the first time when the octopus reaches out her tentacle to touch Foster or when he visits her at her den after she was attacked by sharks hoping that she recovers – the bond they form is compelling. While working on the documentary, the relationships in Foster’s life also benefited and he felt that he developed a more heightened understanding of humanity. His relationship with his son, who features in the documentary, also improved as Foster started sharing about the octopus with his son and even took his son to meet her.

The life span of an octopus is roughly a year and although Foster may have spent this short amount of time with the octopus, the impact it will have on his life and others far exceeds a year. One lesson to take from My Octopus Teacher is that in nature, the are lots of undiscovered teachers. All we have to do is spend some time finding them.

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