Rare encounter between boy and octopus at Western Cape’s Herolds Bay

A beach-goer was astounded by the unusual and endearing interaction between an octopus and a boy that unfolded in a tidal pool.

Mel Walton was privileged to watch a ‘wonder-full’, rare encounter between a boy and an octopus in the tidal pool at Herold’s Bay in the Western Cape recently.

Here’s Walton’s first-person account:

Ben Jansen van Rensburg, who has a broken arm, instead of swimming, was walking slowly at about waist-depth, studying the seaweed in rocks at his feet.

Suddenly he realised an octopus was climbing up his leg. Quite unafraid and completely amazed, Ben bent down and with his good arm and hand and gently drew the octopus up to his chest.

I was astounded by the unusual and endearing action enfolding before me. Neither boy nor sea creature was afraid. Each seemed to be greeting the other, Ben stroking the octopus gently and the octopus stretching out a tentacle that enquiringly cupped Ben’s chin.

I was left wordless with wonder. No hunter or hunted, no aggression, only trust and a young boy’s joy. Ben just could not stop smiling.

His mom Adelia, standing with me on the pool wall, was taking photos. She told me Ben, since babyhood, has been crazy about all animals.

Slowly Ben walked into deeper water and with a final loving stroke he coaxed the octopus back into the pool.

Releasing a small squirt of ink, the beautifully mottled creature gave a spurt of speed and disappeared from our sight.

I learnt from his mom that Ben was going through a hard time, having recently lost his dad in a car accident. Was it only by chance that the octopus came to give Ben such joy or had I perhaps witnessed an unexplainable heavenly event?

Ben and his mom are from Potchefstroom.

Adelia said she recently lost her husband in a car accident. Ben fell and broke his arm, so it was a very traumatised boy who that clever octopus chose to delight.

Once I had posted the photos on my Herold’s Bay chat group, I was overwhelmed by the response. Most people living here would like to see fishing and bait-collecting banned completely in our very unique ‘aquarium’ tidal pool.

One of the comments was: “I have not eaten Octopus for the past 20 years, because of their intelligence and sensitivity.”

Read original story on www.georgeherald.com

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