A Campbell River woman got the experience of a lifetime during a local scuba dive this past weekend, capturing video of a must-see underwater encounter that left her in awe.
When avid diver Andrea Humphreys plunged into the waters on Saturday, she expected to see a Great Pacific Octopus. But what she encountered far exceeded her expectations.
Humphreys was with several friends when the octopus got up close and personal. The group was just a few minutes out and still in shallow water near Argonaut Wharf in Campbell River when they saw a gregarious octopod nestled in kelp.
“Sitting just out in the open during the day, which is also kind of unexpected, and we started taking pictures of it, and then it started to climb on the guy who had never seen one before,” she told CHEK News.
Humphreys says it wasn’t long before the octopus headed over to her.
“It wouldn’t leave me for the entire dive,” she recalled. “It was like 40 minutes with this octopus and it kept coming back to me. As you can see in the video, I was backing away from the octopus and it just kept coming towards me, and that’s when it came on the camera that time.”
While Humphreys says she was a little nervous, the interaction was unlike any she has ever experienced.
“I’ve been diving for 12 years. Six-hundred-and-fifty dives and never had an encounter like that,” she said. “It was exhilarating.”
A former educator and science and technology program coordinator at Vancouver Island University says giant pacific octopuses usually aren’t this interactive with people.
“We only get to see octopuses in action like this when they’re hunting or mating, so this was a really unusual encounter,” said Marnie Branfireun. “I wish it had been me.”
Branfireun says it’s possible Humphreys saw the octopus at just the right time of the season.
“Octopuses at this time of year are mating and laying eggs, so this is a frisky time of year for octopuses. So if she was carrying a camera that was quite reflective on the lens, that might have been the thing that the octopus was interested in,” she added.
“It may have even been thinking, oh, that’s a reflection of an octopus. Like either I’m so beautiful, or maybe, that’s a sexy octopus.”
Humphreys says that based on the octopod’s colour, she doesn’t think it was ever worried. She’s just jumping with joy that she was able to capture it on video.