Have you heard about Inky the Octopus?
Inky has been kept in captivity at a national Aquarium in New Zealand. He was originally brought to the aquarium in need of medical attention after being found on a reef by a local fisherman.
Octopuses by nature are intelligent and solitary creatures and like other creatures, they don’t like to be held captive. While he was not kept in an uncomfortable environment and he was not mistreated, it appears that he longed to be free, to be back in the ocean, his home.
So Inky the Octopus spent his time studying his captors and his surroundings…
Then one day he risked everything, including his life,
to break free from his cage in an attempt to escape back to the ocean.
What Was His Plan of Escape?
Inky observed from his tank that there was a tiny drain in the room where he was kept, where the water would run from the floor to this drain.
When I say this drain is tiny, I mean that it was only six inches wide, six inches!
Inky knew however, that he could get his body to fit through that drain. Octopuses are used to hiding in the sea in tiny crevices and their bodies compress quite well.
So he had some idea that if he could one day get to this drain, that he could fit inside of it.
What Inky Didn’t Know…
While Inky knew it might be possible one day to escape his containment area and scoot across the floor to get to this drain, he had no idea if he could then get to the drain in time before he began to grow physically weak since he would be out of the water and on the cold floor getting to the drain.
He also had no idea where this drain went, he knew the water flowed to the drain, but that water could lead to anywhere or to nowhere.
Even worse, what if the drain became so narrow that he became stuck and would perish in this very uncomfortable manner?
What Inky Did Know…
Inky knew that he would be risking his life to try to escape and follow his hunch that this drain would lead to his freedom.
For reasons that only Inky knows, he was willing to risk his life on this hunch, rather than to spend one more day in captivity.
For him, the choice was clear, it was better to risk everything, including his life, rather than to spend one more day in a place he did not want to be and where he was not satisfied.
Inky bided his time, he studied his captors and each time they opened the lid to his tank, he learned how it worked. He studied the water and how it flowed to the drain.
He worked out in his octopus mind, the size of the drain and what his chances were after escaping from his tank of water, how much time he would have to cross the floor, get to the drain and escape to where the water flowed.
He had a plan and he paid attention, waiting for opportunity to come knocking. And one evening, that’s just what happened.
One night the maintenance crew did not fully close the top to his containment tank, which gave him just enough room to squeeze out from the tank. He then scooted across the floor and went down to the drain, that did indeed lead to the ocean and Inky escaped back to the world where he belonged.
I wish I knew the rest of Inky’s story…
Like how far away was he in New Zealand from where he was born and previously lived? Did he have a mate or parents that he was taken away from when he was captured and will he ever find them again?
Did he know more than we think he knew, was there some sense of the ocean that he could detect from the drain, that gave him the feedback he needed that if he could get to the drain, he could get to the sea.
And most importantly,
what sense of hope and freedom lives so strongly in Inky,
that he was willing to risk it all
in order to have the chance to spend one more minute
in his beloved ocean?
What Would You Do?
If I Could Interview Inky and Get His Advice on Life,
Here’s What I Think He Would Say…
1. Do you feel confined like Inky? Maybe not so literally, where you are in containment, but instead, are you a long way from the place that you love the most in your mind, body or spirit? Maybe it’s a job that makes you feel very unhappy and you dread being there each day or you’re spinning your wheels in a relationship that feels like it’s going nowhere or you live somewhere that makes you feel trapped, whether it’s the pressures of big city life or the frustration of being stuck in a small town that doesn’t suit you.
2. If Inky could risk his life with only the hope that he could fit inside a six inch hole, that would lead him to the largest body of water in the world, rather than to spend another day feeling trapped and confined, what is he trying to teach each of us? Are you missing opportunities right in front of your eyes because you think they look too small to lead to anything great?
3. Maybe it’s time to think about Inky and consider what leap of faith are you willing to take, in order to live your life more completely and fully?
Love Sea Creatures Like I Do?
The ocean and its creatures are still one of the greatest mysteries here on planet Earth. This year in this blog, I’m going to explore these creatures and the beauty and magic of the ocean in all of its forms and see how it relates to us and what gifts are presented to us each day through water and the creatures who call it home.
Want more incredible Octopus stories?