TIME

Under the sea, filmmaker Craig Foster found a deep connection to nature and a special octopus

THE DENSE KELP FOREST OFF THE SOUTHERN tip of South Africa is home to some of the earth’s most diverse sea life, including sharks, rays and, once upon a time, a common octopus that has just had an uncommon run as the star of the Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher.

Her onetime den lies a couple of dozen feet off the coast of Cape Town suburb Simon’s Town. The octopus is long gone—octopuses rarely survive more than 18 months in the wild—but her co-star and “student,” filmmaker Craig Foster, still visits her former home in daily dives that are as much about pilgrimage as they are about science. “When an animal has such an influence on you … you can’t help but love the environment that made her,” he says, gazing down

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