My Octopus Teacher and Me
When I first met Craig, there he was, free diving and ocean-loving, a little more graceful and adept in the water than on land and there I was, scared of water, absolutely no oceanic skills like swimming and firmly rooted on land.
Suddenly I found myself living on the shores of a massive wilderness, the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by people who were in the water everyday. An amphibious tribe. Not only were they swimming and diving every day, but they were skin diving. Let me tell you, for a girl who grew up in the tropics, this water is COLD.
All of it is life changing, pulling you deeper into a matrix of belonging in the natural world. Close encounters with animals don’t happen every day. They don’t happen every other week or month even, but they happen unexpectedly when you need them to. They helped me to go into the water. But it is also my eye for the smaller now that really deepened my relationship with the Seaforest. Together they all infuse your being with magic, because for that moment, there are no barriers. You come into your full being as the human animal and a great silent, natural sentience is telling you, you belong.
It is not like I don’t feel fear anymore, but I I feel the wonder more. Now, I swim and dive almost every day with Craig and the Sea Change Team. I don’t expect to bond with an octopus or any sea creature in the way he did as that was perhaps a once in a lifetime privilege, but the whole of The Great African Seaforest is now open to me.
Interview by Pippa Ehrlich.
All photos by Craig Foster, Pippa Ehrlich. Videos by Craig Foster. Cover Art by John P Weiss.