This is what we found at the beach today.
I’ve always been fascinated by octopi, and I’ve always wanted to see one up close and personal. It’s been one of my ambitions. But I never expected to find on at my feet, swimming in the shallows of Llanfairfechan beach on the North Wales coast. And yet here one was, right at my feet.
It must have been swept in with the tide and been stranded in the dips in the sand, unable to find a way out. She kept on coming back to the shore, at times half climbing out of the water. She seemed quite unafraid. She was so beautiful and so miraculously close, I immediately grabbed my camera.
Then I began to get worried. The octopus swam away, but kept on coming back to shore. At one point she was almost touching my feet as she made her way into my shadow out of the sun, and I could have sworn she looked me straight in the eye. So was my miracle really a tragedy after all? Had my octopus come this close because it was too weak to resist the tide? On the promenade above I could hear people arriving with their dogs. I’d watched videos of people gallantly returning stranded dolphins to the open sea. Was I one of those that just stood on the sidelines and took the photographs instead of shooing a stranded creature back to safety?
Just how do you shoo an octopus into deeper waters? One highly intelligent creature from an alien world. With a beak.
Who do you tell? Or should you just let nature take its course?
Luckily for me and the octopus, the tide kept on coming in, and finally she disappeared back into the sea, in the direction of the Menai Straights.
Today, after a long cold spring, a perfect summer’s day appeared out of nowhere. And out of nowhere, I was left with the magical memory of an encounter I shall never forget.