Life beneath the ocean’s surface is filled with mysteries and wonders, and every once in a while, a glimpse into this world captures the heart and imagination of those who dare to explore. “The ocean is a vast realm of marvels, where the unknown waits to be discovered,” as I often used to say when treating marine animals in my days as a veterinarian.
A recent expedition by the non-profit organization Nautilus Exploration Program has unearthed a delightful spectacle of the deep sea that perfectly illustrates this thought. Their mission, conducted with remotely-operated vehicles, has been a continuous journey of exploring and learning about the life on the seafloor.
One of the exploration’s highlights was the enchanting sight of a flatfish, jellyfish, and an octopus all in one frame. The image was a breathtaking snapshot of the life underneath the ocean. However, it was the octopus that truly stole the show and the hearts of the explorers.
Known as a flapjack octopus, this deep-sea creature is one of the ocean’s most adorable inhabitants. With small compact bodies and ear-like fins, flapjack octopuses look like lumpy pancakes when resting. When floating, their umbrella-like bodies balloon out, and their fluid jelly-like texture allows them to contract.
These fascinating creatures have inspired many to call them “Dumbo,” after the beloved Disney character. The name stems from their large, ear-like appendages, but their bulging eyes on top of their heads are also quite evident.
During the exploration, the octopus, appearing yellow in color, seemed social and moved its fins as if seeking attention. It was a sight that was too cute and bright to be ignored. But the bright light from the remotely operated vehicle seemed to blind the creature, causing it to blink a few times to adjust.
Soon, the octopus’s shyness took over. It began to use its tentacles to cover itself, seemingly wanting to hide from the camera’s focus. The explorers sensed the creature’s discomfort and decided to leave it alone to rest peacefully in its natural habitat.
This endearing encounter serves as a reminder of the beautiful complexity of life beneath the ocean’s surface. The story of the humble octopus, waving and then shyly hiding from the camera, has melted hearts and once again awakened our curiosity for the underwater world.
If this story of exploration and discovery has touched your heart, please share it with your friends and family. Let’s keep supporting organizations like the Nautilus Exploration Program that make these wonderful discoveries possible. And perhaps, the next time you venture near the ocean, you’ll be reminded that there’s a world of wonder beneath those waves, waiting to be explored.