The other day, Natasha Agra and a friend were snorkeling off the coast of Australia, along the Great Barrier Reef, when something unusual caught their eye. Little could they have guessed, they were about to have an encounter with a very elusive species.
“At first, we were unsure what it was,” Agra told us.
But then they got closer.
As Agra and her friend neared, they realized that the animal was an octopus. As marine biologists, however, they could tell she wasn’t just any octopus.
She was an extremely rare blanket octopus — a colorful species known for its flowing, drape-like form.
“We were both shocked to see this free-swimming, beautiful animal in front of us!” Agra said. “We were both yelling into our snorkels with excitement.”
Fortunately, they were able to compose themselves enough to capture this stunning footage:
Typically, this species inhabits the deep waters of the open ocean. But this particular octopus seemed comfortable with being seen closer to shore.
“[She] put on quite a show,” Agra said.
After about 30 minutes, the octopus continued on her way — but not before leaving Agra and her friend with a memory they won’t soon forget.
“Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime encounter,” Agra said.