Wild Octopus ‘Hugs’ Divers in a Rare Interaction During Photo Shoot

Recreational diver and amateur photographer Andrea Humphreys recently took a friend into the water who had never seen an octopus before. Not only did they find an octopus, but it also engaged closely with the divers for 40 minutes.

Spotted by Laughing Squid, Humphreys has shared photos and videos of the experience with the giant pacific octopus on her YouTube and Instagram. She says that a friend of her friend Ester de Best was visiting from the east coast and had requested to see an octopus — if possible — since he had never seen one before.

“I knew of a couple at this site and well, I did not disappoint to say the least,” she recalls. “Three minutes into the dive, I stumble (well swim across) this! EPIC! We enjoy this beauty for 40-plus minutes. It first crawled onto the friend and all over his mask, and then as I began to take photos and videos from a distance, it crawled to me and all over my camera and eventually onto my body!”

The curious octopus actively engaged with the group, investigating and interacting with them for a long time, easily fulfilling the east coast diver’s desire to see an octopus. She says the creature’s body was the size of a basketball and it extended more than three meters in length from tentacle to tentacle. During the encounter, Humphreys describes an octopus “kiss” of sorts.

“I lost track at six times of it coming to engage with me! On my camera, on my body with tentacles and suckers on my lips (yes I did end up with an octopus hickey!!). You can hear my squeals of excitement and amazement!” she adds. “Its tentacles were reaching through the camera to feel my face and then at some point, it had crawled on my body, on my hips, and was giving me a hug [and] it had tentacles up and around my mouth and it was sucking on my lip, which is the only exposed part of my body,”

Humphreys tells The Canadian Press that in her 12 years of diving, she’s never had such an experience with an octopus and it is definitely not a normal occurrence.

“Typically, when we find octopuses, they are in their dens, so like hiding in little cracks, crevices, under rocks and open logs. So, to have it sitting out in the open was pretty rare,” she says.

Humphreys says that she hopes the video and the story of her experience raises awareness about the beauty of marine life and the importance of protecting it.

“(I’m) just hoping I can make people, through this video, aware of what lives under the sea and how our effects can be so harmful.”

Octopus are known to be incredibly intelligent, and this is not the first time one has interacted with a photographer. In 2020, a curious octopus played “tug of war” with a Diver’s GoPro that resulted in what looks like a four-minute long chase scene.