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From childhood, filmmaker Craig Foster has loved the ocean, spending hours exploring the shoreline and waters. Despite the cold temperatures of the South African coastal waters near his home, he decides to explore one particular kelp forest every day for a year.
In these daily dives, he encounters among hundreds of other creatures a female octopus who seems curious about this pale visitor to her world. “A lot of people say that an octopus is like an alien,” says Foster. “But actually, we are a lot like each other.”
The Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher shows God’s creation is intricate and inspiring. After a few weeks of encounters, Foster and the octopus form a bond. The animal seems to trust that Foster is not a threat and explores him with her eight arms and many suckers. She allows him to hold her.
Foster explores the kelp forest without wetsuit or scuba gear, relying on a mask and snorkel. His camera captures beautiful colors and creatures. He tracks the octopus as she hunts, hides, and plays. Camouflage and cunning help her survive despite predator sharks all around. In horror, Foster films pajama sharks nosing furiously into her den, injuring one of her arms severely.
Foster espouses belief in millions of years of evolution, and Christians will also object to his view of the difference between humans and animals. Still, they can appreciate his praise of diversity and design even in a fallen world.