My Octopus Teacher takes viewers into a world few humans have ever seen. In 2010, debilitated by adrenal fatigue, Craig began free diving in a freezing underwater forest at the tip of Africa. As the icy water re-energised him, he started to film his experiences and in time, a curious young octopus captured his attention.
In 2010, Craig Foster began free-diving in a cold underwater kelp forest at a remote location in False Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa.The location was near Simon's Town on the Cape Peninsula, which is exposed to the cold Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean.
He started to document his experiences and, in time, met a curious young octopus that captured his attention. The film shows Foster's growing intimate relationship with the octopus as he follows her around for nearly a year. They form a bond where she plays with Foster and allows him into her world to see how she sleeps, lives, and eats. She frequently has to defend herself against pyjama sharks. In one attack upon her, the octopus loses an arm, and retreats to her den to recover, slowly regenerating the arm over three months. In a later shark attack, she shows an incredibly improved creativity to survive, including sticking on the shark's back. After mating with a male octopus and producing a large number of eggs, she dies naturally while tending to her eggs. Later, a shark scavenges her dead body and carries it off.
Foster describes the effect of this mentorship-like relationship the octopus provided him, teaching him a lesson on the fragility of life and humanity's connection with nature. This transfers to Foster creating a deeper bond with his son, Tom Foster, as his son develops as a diver and marine biology student.