Two Islanders featured in new National Geographic series

Two Islanders featured in new National Geographic series
Submitted by Maxwel Hohn
A diver is pictured with a Giant Pacific Octopus

A new series examining the life of octopuses airing on National Geographic features two Vancouver Islanders who worked on the project.

“Octopus are cautious animals that spend a lot of their time living in dens. They’re so powerful they can actually move boulders to help protect themselves from predators, like hungry sea lions,” said Maxwell Hohn in a press release.

Hohn, a cinematographer from Comox Valley, was part of an international crew hired by National Geographic to film its new underwater series Secrets of the Octopus, produced by James Cameron and narrated by Paul Rudd.

The Giant Pacific Octopus (GPO) is one of the subjects featured, found in the Pacific Northwest and is the world’s largest of its species.

Story continues

A Giant Pacific Octopus is pictured. Submitted by Maxwel Hohn.

The series is piggybacking off recent studies revealing signs of consciousness, decision-making, and unique personalities found in octopuses.

Black Creek resident and commercial painter Krystal Janicki was selected as the human character for the GPO story due to her unusual ability to communicate and bond with the animal.

Janicki is also a diver and is dubbed an “octopus whisperer.”

“I knew nothing about GPOs when I started diving, except they were often seen as ‘villains’. They were slimy, ominous creatures,” said Janicki.

“But when I finally saw one below the surface, I forgot everything I thought I knew about them and became fascinated. I now know they are curious, gentle, and beautiful.”

It’s unclear how long filming took, but Hohn says hours were spent underwater trying to find “the right octopus” which proved to be difficult due to the animal’s ability to camouflage.

“We were starting to become discouraged until we saw an arm reaching out of a rocky den,” said Hohn.

“It’s like she chose to be with us. Every time we returned to the den she would come out to greet us.”

Five other divers were among the crew filming in the series, with extra support from Campbell River dive store, OceanFix.

The series is now streaming on Disney+ in Canada.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!