The Octopus Teacher, Part 3. (aka All Good Things Must Come to An End.)

I have felt incredibly lucky that my friend and I have been able to experience our own “Octopus Teacher”. 

Much to our great surprise, on one of our snorkels in January we stumbled upon an Octopus out in the open and we were stunned. I have seen them in nooks and crannies here and there while snorkeling over the years, but NEVER have I seen one out in the open. 

We spotted Octavia in mid January, and then noticed a few more tucked in nooks and crannies around the spot where we snorkel. 

As the days progressed, we made it a point of snorkeling there every day and found where she was living. We knew it was her by some particular markings on her, either by an arm she re-grew or by a bite from another sea creature. 

We were very patient each time we saw her, hovering over her den and waiting endlessly for her to come out.  One day - maybe three of four days later- she emerged and went for a swim with us.  We were so excited and stunned.  She returned to her den eventually, and we swam away.

We continued this daily ritual as best we could, weather permitting, and it went about the same way. She would eventually work herself out of her den, follow us as we drifted away from her den, and then when we thought we were a bit far from her home, we would turn and she would FOLLOW us back to her lair. 


She got so used to us, that she wouldn’t even attempt to camouflage herself, or spread out and change colors if we got close. She did that the first couple of times, but then didn’t really care how close we got to her. 

One day last week we went to see her, as per our usual daily snorkel, and she was a bit reluctant to emerge.  She did, however, after we decided it might be nice to just leave her alone, and we followed her this time.  I’m so glad we did, because she put on a beautiful, colorful show for us.  

She spread her arms, first in her natural, brown and white colors, and then began what can only be described as posing. I swam down to the bottom (of three feet of water, mind you) to take shots of her from the side.  It didn’t matter how close I got, she simply looked at me each time, displaying the beautiful colors we had seen when we first encountered her. 

After about 20 minutes or so, she began making her way back to her lair, and we followed.  We waved goodbye, and were thrilled at the show. 

We returned the next day, and we were disappointed to find her cave empty. We thought perhaps she was out hunting for food, and returned the next day. 

It was empty. 

We have since returned daily in the hopes of seeing her, but alas, her lair is completely empty. Except for the large, bully squirrelfish that has since made it his home.  

I’ve decided that she simply went to find a new and nicer home, and will leave it at that.  We are incredibly grateful for the amazing, magical experience that she gave us.  She reminded me that at any day, at any given time, you need to be ready for a little bit of magic.  

Open your eyes, and get ready. 


Our own "Octopus Teacher" encounter, Cayman style.

I had an incredible, once in a lifetime snorkeling experience yesterday with my friend Janice here in the Grand Cayman Islands. 

I am fortunate to be staying in a lovely home right across the street from the beautiful beach, and Janice lives right next door. We grab our gear and walk across the street almost daily to enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean.  We are often lucky enough to see turtles, lobsters, stingrays and so many other creatures right in our own front yard.

In one of our favorite snorkeling areas we have found several large pieces of rock or coral that have provided safe homes for the two or three octopuses. (Yes, the plural form IS octopuses.) We have seen several out in the open recently- another FIRST- and returned yesterday to see what we might find. 

In one of the octopus’s “homes”, we saw one tucked in the hole with one of its large eyes watching at us as we hovered above. The water is only about 2 feet deep in this spot, so we were very close to the beautiful creature.  

We hovered there for a while, maybe ten  minutes or so, and I decided to swim around the area to see if I could find another one out in the open. (I'm a bit restless, you see.) A very patient Janice stayed right where she was, very vigilant in her quest to coax the octopus out of its hole. We are both fans of the Netflix movie "My Octopus Teacher", and are convinced that these creatures are intelligent and curious.

Eventually I came back to her right when her efforts began to pay off.  The creature inched its way out of the hole, forming a kind of teepee as it emerged.  It came out inch by inch, watching  us watch him.  It came all the way out, and elegantly swam slowly into the turtle grass! 

We followed it carefully, shocked and elated to see what was happening!  It swam slowly, as curious about us as we were about him. It only swam about six feet away from its home, and then stopped and spread its arms out.  We were captivated and delighted by this show.  

A few minutes later it made its way slowly back to its home, finding his way into a smaller crevice beside its original shelter.  It obviously didn’t fit, so it slowly came out again and went right next door to the larger hole and settled in, watching us the whole time. 

Janice and I were stunned and exhilarated by the whole experience! Honestly I have never seen anything like it, and I am still stunned.  I learned several lessons that day about patience, curiosity and the beauty of the ocean and the creatures that live there.  

I’m going to share the pictures that begin with spotting it, then its curious emergence and its journey with two thankful and ecstatic snorkelers and its return home. 

We were blessed for sure. 


What a day!!


This Whale of a Tale has Fur

 If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last seven years, it’s that my life with Fred is never, ever boring.  

We've been in the Caymans for a month now, getting settled in. We decided to take our Kentucky friends who are here diving for a few weeks for a boat ride the other day - hoping to catch the beautiful sunset. Fred captained our Formula boat out of the bay as I pulled in the fenders and put the lines, etc. in their proper places. We settled in with Steve and Vickie for a nice ride as Fred put the hammer down and motored into the North Sound. 

We always open the door to the cabin below deck when we get onto the boat- to air it out and push this button or that button. We have a latch at the bottom that keeps the door open while we are under way. 

I was sitting at the rear of the boat enjoying a lovely conversation with Vicky, when I saw a BLACK CAT shoot out of the cabin!! It ran frantically around the boat, and finally ran onto the bow of the boat. We were all yelling and screaming at this point, and when he was eyeing up the water we were ALL shouting, “Don’t Jump!! Don’t jump!” (Because we assumed it was an English speaking cat, of course.) 

He immediately jumped into the water and started swimming for dear life.  There was a fairly strong current, and he looked clearly in distress. He swam in circles, trying to figure out where to go. I ran into the cabin to find something to throw to him, thinking he could get on top of it.  I found our life ring, and took it to the back of the boat. 

In the meantime, Fred tried to maneuver the boat closer to the cat, who seemed to be going farther and farther away from the boat.  I saw him looking for us, and could tell that he regretted his decision to jump.  When we got close enough, I threw him the life ring which he quickly climbed upon.  He balanced on it like a pro, still watching for us.  It didn’t take me long to realize that I hadn’t secured the ring onto the rope, so now the cat AND the ring were bobbing farther and farther away. 

Fred managed to get the boat closer to the cat, and I used our boat hook to catch the small rope attached to the ring itself. I pulled him close to the back of the boat. He tried to get from the ring to the bat, but kept falling back into the water, perilously close to going under the boat. He managed to get back on the ring, I lifted it up onto the boat and then he jumped onto the boat and made his way BACK to the cabin.  

Steve and Fred pulled the screen door shut, and we tried to regain our senses. We were flabbergasted at what had just happened.  We made our way, still in shock, back to our dock. As we secured the boat, Fred and Steven conducted a search of the cabin.   

No cat. 

They searched every single nook and cranny to no avail.  Finally, I brought some tuna down to the dock and left it on the dock. We left the cabin door open again, and proceeded to have some well-deserved libations. 

In the morning, the food was gone and we HOPE that the cat is also.  All we can tell at this point is that there is a black cat roaming Rum Point with 8 lives left, and a whale of a tale to tell.