An Octopus’s Garden in the Sea

An Octopus’s Garden in the Sea

What lives in the sea and has eight arms covered with suckers? We all know the answer: an octopus!

What lives in the sea and can change both color and texture? Also an octopus!

What lives in the sea and can walk on the bottom and shoot through the water? Still an octopus!


We may know many things about octopuses, but seeing one in action is still extraordinary. We recently spent five nights camping and kayaking in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. Competition was stiff for the highlights of the trip. Among the leading candidates were a pod of orcas swimming past our camp one evening, fresh pink salmon cooked over the fire and even—in a very different way—a midnight tsunami warning that saw us hiking up the mountainside to safety until the all-clear message came through.

Still, we couldn’t stop talking about watching a young Pacific octopus in a tidepool one morning. It walked through the shallow water:

Young Pacific octopus in a tidepool
© Henry P. Huntington

It hunkered down and blended into the rocks and seaweed, turning its skin rough and pointy:

Young Pacific octopus in a tidepool
© Henry P. Huntington

Later, the octopus moved across the tidepool again, one tentative tentacle at a time:

Young Pacific octopus in a tidepool
© Henry P. Huntington

And then in a headfirst dart across the whole pool, its skin now smooth and red:

Young Pacific octopus in a tidepool
© Henry P. Huntington

No wonder we return time and again to the same waters, delighting in the variety of joys a healthy ocean offers up, even in a few feet of a tidepool, when we can take the time to explore!

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