“One word: epic.”
That’s how a Vancouver Island scuba driver is describing a recent eight-apendaged underwater encounter.
Andrea Humphreys is a school teacher in the Campbell River area, and a diver with plenty of experience. Over 12 years she’s logged about 675 plunges, but in all that time she’s never seen anything like what she captured on video last week.
Humphreys and a group of divers had set out to take a friend from Newfoundland, who had never seen an octopus, out to try and view one of the cephalopods near Campbell River’s Argonaut Wharf.
“Within probably two minutes, there’s an octopus sitting there in the kelp right in the open … pretty much unheard of in the daytime,” she told Global News.
“Then the octopus climbed on this guy that had never seen an octopus before and was climbing all over his face and his mask.”
That alone would have been a thrill for the group, but things didn’t stop there.
The creature, which Humphreys identified as a giant Pacific octopus, seemed to lose interest and climbed off her friend — and took a shine to Humphreys.
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What followed was a nearly 40-minute interaction with the multi-armed sea creature, during which it climbed all over her mask, face and camera.
“It just kept coming back to me, it wasn’t interested in anybody else. It was just incredible to see and experience,” she said.
“You can kind of hear my enthusiasm in the video, me shrieking and screaming, it was just total talking under water because I was so incredibly excited … I’ve been diving so long and never had an encounter like that, and to finally be able to have one and have it for that long, that much time — words can’t even describe it.”
While Humphreys and the octopus got to know one another, she said her friends sat back and laughed, enjoying the spectacle.
The diver told Global News she’s had a few animal encounters in her diving career, but nothing so up-close and personal. Divers are prohibited from approaching wildlife, she said, so the animal needs to come to you.
Now she’s sharing the footage of the unforgettable encounter, hoping to generate public interest and awareness about the incredible life that flourishes unseen beneath the surface of our oceans.
“Being a teacher I think we all can learn,” she said. “Having footage like this, where people see footage of octopus — you see their heads, their eyes, you never really get to see underneath the octopus, and for it to be able to lift up, spread out, you can see inside the suckers … it was such a cool experience I had to share it.”