A Guest Blog by PADI.com
World Octopus Day on 8 October 2021 highlights the need to continue to explore and protect the ocean so that the 300 recognized species of octopus can continue to live in rock formations, coral reefs and throughout the seas.
Octopus have long been one of the most fascinating marine encounters to have as a diver. With three hearts, blue blood, the ability to camouflage on demand and their high levels of intelligence, these curious creatures place high on many divers’ bucket lists.
They can be found in a range of ocean climates around the globe, making diving with octopus attainable worldwide.
Here are eight of some of the best places to dive with octopus:
1. Canary Islands
Offering warm and clear water all year round, the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa and the eastern edge of the Atlantic Ocean are a great place to dive with octopus, who are often hiding under the rocky terrain below the surface.
2. The Maldives
This low-lying nation offers white sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs and plenty of opportunity to dive with octopus. The rich water in the Maldives feed the soft coral that clings to rock slides, providing a range of locations for octopus to build their home. They are a common sighting there amongst those who both snorkel and dive.
3. French Polynesia
Octopus are an essential part of French Polynesian culture—they have an octagonal building referred to as the “Octopus Church” on the island of Mo’orea and the island archipelago is home to the Micronesia mythology octopus god referred to as Na Kika. Beneath the surface of these low-lying atolls in French Polynesia are marine creature clusters that often include octopus hiding amongst the rocks or coral beds.
4. South Africa
This destination put diving with octopus on the top of the list for many after last year’s release of the Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher. False Bay near Cape Town, as highlighted in the film, is one location to dive with octopus. But the varied climates and currents provide a range of opportunities for close encounters with these marine creatures across the coastline.
As the epicenter of biodiversity beneath the surface of Indonesia’s waters, octopus are just one of the many marine animals that call this collection of 17,508 islands home. Lembeh Strait is often full of various species, including the mimic octopus, who can change into and act like a variety of other marine species like lionfish and sea snakes.
The Philippines offers divers thousands of dive sites to choose from. But those wanting to dive with an octopus should plan a visit to the Sea Explorers House Reef in Dauin, where blue ring octopus are known to be found during the month of October, often amongst the colorful soft coral.
7. United States
Off the California coastline are thousands of tidepools that offer a sanctuary for octopus and a great place for those with their fins off to have an encounter with them. Those wanting to dive deeper can do a shore dive at Shaw’s Cove in Laguna Beach, where octopus are known to hang out around the underwater statue dubbed Shelley of Shaw’s. And farther North up the Pacific Coast off the shores of Washington, divers can encounter giant Pacific octopus in the waters of Olympic National Park.
For those wanting to find the world’s smallest octopus, the blue ring octopus can be found off the coast of Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. This tiny octopus is known for its beautiful blue marking and will flash bright blue and black rings to warn predators to stay away. The world’s smallest octopus is also the most venomous, so make sure to admire them from a safe distance.
To explore these dive sites and more, get in touch with your local PADI Dive Center or Resort and become a PADI Open Water Diver. And for those wanting to help protect octopus, other marine species and the ocean they call home, join the community of PADI Torchbearers to learn more about how to get involved and help restore ocean health.
Photo credit – Annie Crawley, PADI AmbassaDiver and Master Scuba Diver Instructor / @anniecrawley_oceanannie
Book Review: The Sea Lions of Los Islotes
Review of The Sea Lions of Los Islotes – The Jewel of Espiritu Santo Island
Having dived with and filmed these amazing Sea Lions myself many years ago I was delighted to see this new book by Luke Inman. It brought back memories of the most friendly and playful animals in our marine world. Their exuberance and desire for play seems unmatched anywhere else. Luke’s book is a true celebration of the Sea Lion.
The book is well written but not overly heavy on the text. Instead there are short comprehensive paragraphs on their behaviour and lifestyle. This is all supported by plenty of images reflecting Luke’s experiences and relationship with these gregarious animals. It is not often you feel you are watching an animal smile but these do. Constantly. It is with these images Luke shares his love and enthusiasm for the Sea Lions.
In the book Luke mentions the modern day issues faced by the Sea Lions in reference to Climate change, over fishing and Ghost fishing. These are serious factors in the life of any marine animals and must not be ignored or brushed over.
Luke also briefly mentions Sea Lions in captivity for the amusement of human beings. He rightly points out that the animals suffer bad health and die prematurely compared to those in the wild. I would like to add that a Sea Lion in a tank or marine park, performing tricks, is not a Sea Lion at all. It is a low base form of its natural self and should never be captive and imprisoned in this way.
It’s a good book and well worth looking up. Especially as it is getting near Christmas.
About the author
Luke Inman is an award-winning scuba Instructor Trainer, natural history filmmaker, photographer, writer and explorer. His work includes the BBC’s Planet Earth 3, Netflix’s Our Planet and advertising campaigns. Luke is the Owner and Operator of The Dive Gurus — the only PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Release date 25 October 2022 | RRP £25 | Paperback | ISBN 978-1-909455-49-8 | 136 pages | 246 x 189 mm
Available now from Divedup.com, online and from retailers.
New feature film tackles Western trade in toxic sharks (Watch Trailer)
“Sharks: In Deep Water is a film to change things,” explains Producer Matt Brierley. The film’s global premiere is 8th Nov 2022 and tickets can be obtained through www.sharksindeepwater.com.
Sharks matter. Without the sea’s top predators ocean ecosystems collapse. We are perilously close to creating a tipping point beneath the waves – in many places ocean systems have already collapsed, taking with them people’s livelihoods and their primary source of protein.
This is a topic close to many people’s hearts – but it is also an issue that conjures images of shark finning and Eastern markets. Sharks: In Deep Water tells a new story.
Laws to protect sharks from finning at sea have tragically backfired. Today sharks must have their fins removed on land. That has sparked a global trade in shark meat. As top of the food chain, sharks bioaccumulate human toxicants in concentrations harmful to their health – and ours if we eat them.
Undercover investigation by Sharks: In Deep Water found sharks in Western ports and on menus in high-end UK restaurants. The film conducted DNA analysis of battered fish sold in UK fish and chip shops. The results proved conclusively that Endangered shark is sold under confusing names. The results claimed headlines across the UK.
“Shark livers are also harvested – typically from deep water sharks science knows very little about. Again these are Western market forces not Eastern,” Matt said. “For too long we’ve told shark conservation as a simple story. Sharks are finned at sea by Eastern countries. But the story has moved on and that old narrative is excusing the Western nations who are fishing the shark and selling it – typically – through the Port of Vigo, Spain. The UK and EU are hugely complicit in the greatest underwater extinction event of our time.”
Sharks: In Deep Water is a film that has been designed to educate, inspire and – ultimately – to make a difference. It is uplifting and joyful at times, sad at others, but crucially it is hopeful and an authentic telling of the issues facing sharks present day.
Join Matt, Louise and Samantha and their team as they journey from Morocco to Continental Europe and on into the UK, documenting a trade in sharks closer to home than you ever imagined possible – and finding ways to spark positive change.
Producer Matt Brierley has worked across a suite of Natural History programming including Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II and The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet.
To watch the film’s trailer, get tickets to the premiere or learn more about the film visit www.sharksindeepwater.com. Details of future screenings will also be announced there.
The film team would like to thank Primordial Radio, Bristol Green Capital, Greenpeace, Exeter University, Manchester University, The Daily Mirror, the MCSUK and those who generously supported and publicised their crowdfunding campaigns including Scubaverse.
Producer Matt Brierley is an award-winning Natural History filmmaker who has worked on programmes including Emmy-winning The Serengeti Rules, Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, Planet Earth II and Wild Isles, and Prince Williams’ The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet. He’s especially passionate about birds, elephants, dinosaurs and, of course, sharks.
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