Three years ago I took a Dive Safari – My bucket list said I would see orang-utans in the wild, so I decided to combine that with some diving. I went across to Indonesia with a cracking little company called Dive Safari Asia.
Pulah Weh is a tiny island on the edge of the Indian Ocean. It’s the very north west tip of Sumatra, and near Banda Aceh, where the 2004 earthquake was centred, and was the site of severe devastation at the time of the tsunami.
It’s a glorious little place, and the diving is all mainly volcanic reefs (as you’d imagine, being in a massive earthquake zone!) and while the dive sits have less coral and colours than the Red Sea for instance, some of the underwater topography is quite stunningly bleak.
One of the dives I did out there was to Selaco Cave. There wasn’t much of a cave system there so I’m not really sure where the name comes from, but we did have some fun!
For the first 20 minutes of the dive, we pottered around the volcanic rocks, finding little fellas like this – he’s about the size of my little finger!
We flitted about seeing some fun scenery and some enjoyable currents.
After about 20 minutes, I got a signal from Ben, our dive guide, who was sitting on the sand near to some large rocks. My buddies and I drifted over, and saw that in between the large rock, and a smaller rock, there was a small gully. One one side of the gully was a small hole, and there was an octopus in the hole and she was shovelling sand out of it, like she was trying to excavate it!.
As we watched, we began to see that there was another, larger octopus, sitting above the cave, in the sandy gully, and he was actually shovelling sand up, and throwing it down on top of her, effectively, trying to make her come out of her hole so he could jump on her!
The more she shovelled th sand out of the front of her cave, the more her threw it on her, and it was simply amazing to see such intelligent creatures so obviously thinking complex interactions!
At one point, he threw so much sand on her, that she had to come out of her hole, at which point, he dived straight towards her, trying to jump on her! (smooth moves). She dived straight back into her little cave, so his silky moves were thwarted. He tried another romantic gesture.
Positioned on the smaller rock to the left, he then tried luring her out with a kind caress. He reached out with a tentacle to try and touch her. In this video, he’s the brown pointy blog on the left rock, and she’s hidden in a cave in the right rock!
His smooth moves seemed to have the desired effect on her, and she started to come out of her cave slowly – you can see her sneak out slowly, in this video below. As she crept out, he bade his time, until he was sure he could get her, and eventually made his fast move – jumped on her! The two had a very very quick tumble at the top of the gully, before she quickly ran back into her cave
I have no idea if they ended up mating in that quick exchange (I like to think I saw baby octopuses being made!), but we soon released we’d been there for about 15 minutes and air was disappearing. We said goodbye to our lovebirds and left them to their coitus.
My dive profile:
As you can see, I had around 20 minutes of normal diving, between 15 and 20m, looking at the lovely reefs and critters. Then around 21 minutes in, I settle down to watch the Octopus show! I sat there for around 15 minutes until starting to come up. I had a few ascent warnings (coming up a little too quick, I remember being a little underweighted for this dive) but I managed to complete my three minute safety stop, before surfacing.
Note: looking at the photos I took on the same date, I realised this was the same day that I met this little cute character (and she made her way to becoming one of my most popular blog posts!)