They say you never forget your first time, many of us probably want to forget it, but, alcohol can only undo so much. Anyway the point here is that my cherry finally got popped, my first ever Mimic Octopus! It has taken five years and a lot of diving all over the world to finally have had the luck to see one and I’m very very happy, which is totally different from that other first time, you know the one where you mostly just felt sorry for your “buddy”.
Turns out we didn’t need to travel very far to see my old ‘list topper’ on my “Things I really want to see before being hit by a bus” list, the Mimic Octopus. We had been hearing rumors of them being spotted on Kata Beach Dives, right here in Phuket, a popular dive spot for beginners which does not require the use of a boat to get to, beach entry with normally flat surface conditions for 7 months of the year.
Then a friend of mine posted up an awesome pic of an Octopus, with the title “Is This A Mimic?”, it was, and I immediately messaged him for the details of where he’d seen it. He drew me this map, which is awesome, thanks to Sam Kelly!
This map was worth it’s weight in gold because based off the co-ordinates on our first 120 minute dive we did not find the Mimic, but the map was spot on for all the points of interest which we then used on our second 120 minute dive to find the sands most elusive subject A BLOODY MIMIC OCTOPUS, sorry got a bit over excited there (A lot like my other first time).
When my buddy saw two small eye stalks sticking up out of the sand in front of her we were not really sure what we were looking at, was it just a common octopus or something more interesting? It truly just had his eyes poking up out of the sand, hard to spot and mostly sand colored, Mimic’s are amazing at hiding, go figure.
We stopped, we waited, for around 20 minutes it did not much of anything, eventually it emerged briefly from it’s hole and sat on top for a second, then went full Mimic, displaying a trademark white and black stripe pattern. Wow so cool, so happy, so awesome to see in our own back yard.
My buddy went in for a photo and plop down into his hole, I took one or two ‘terrible’ zoomed in photos as proof we found a mimic but nothing I would show publicly, a little bummed, but also still pretty happy we decided to go explore some more and return to this spot if we could on our way back.
We then found an array of critters and other things to photograph, but all I could think was has that dam Octopus come back to the top of it’s den. Thankfully upon return, we spotted his little beady and rather aware Octopus eyes and this time it was my turn to go in for a photo.
It was not easy approaching the Mimic, it would squeeze down and nearly disappear every time I looked at it on approach (creeping along the sand) one finger pull at a time. In the end I learnt that if I put the camera in front of my mask and hid my eyes, the Mimic didn’t move. So that was how I approached, one finger at a time slow, methodical and breathing very slowly (Again nothing like my other first time), eventually I got close enough for a couple decent snaps.
After a few minutes of being very close to the Mimic and his home, I was hoping he was getting the idea that I was not a threat and that we could be friends after, as I thought that, he reached out one oh his eight arms, touched the camera for a second and boom disappeared into his hole, but I did manage to capture that magical moment on film (very much unlike my other first time).
Hopefully we will get back out there and get some more photos of them before the weather prevents diving off the beach now we know they are about, enjoy!