A man, an octopus and lessons for our corona lives

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A man, an octopus and lessons for our corona lives

If this brilliant doccie is not about resilience in the face of great odds, then the message is lost upon us

Columnist

Until two Saturdays ago my idea of heaven was devouring a plate of seafood at Bertha’s in Simon’s Town while looking out over the bright waters of the Atlantic.

I should not have watched My Octopus Teacher, easily one of the best documentaries ever made. A burnt-out 50-something-year-old white dude has the time to do daily dives every day for much of the calendar year, down into a kelp forest off the shores of the Cape Town. Diving without a wetsuit into those icy cold waters, where sometimes heavy swells could knock you against a rock and end any thoughts of adventure, makes no sense. Until you understand what drives Craig Foster – an unlikely friendship with a cephalopod.

An octopus is a shy creature, spending much of its time shielded under a rock (“the den”) for fear of predators. But Craig, on a stroll down under, meets the mollusk and a bond forms between Homo sapiens and Octopus vulgaris. Slowly, an octopus arm unfurls and the sensitive little sucker cups cling to the diver’s fingers, then hand. There is recognition, even an emotional bond. No scientist or photographer had captured a moment like this. You watch, transfixed, and finally accept that paying that Netflix subscription might have been worth it after all...

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