This is the moment a diver was photo-bombed and had an unexpected underwater cuddle — from a SEAL.
Ben Burville, 51, who has been diving with the animals or 20 years, was joined by the curious animal which was very interested in his head gear.
Ben, from Morpeth, Northumberland, remained calm while the seal patted him on the head with its large flippers.
But Ben patted the seal’s flipper as it swam around, before giving its face a little rub.
Ben, an NHS doctor and visiting marine science researcher at Newcastle University, said: “They’re very clever animals.
“They will try and prise the diving gear off my head – but they know the difference between what is gear and what is my face.
“They wouldn’t dig their flippers into my face.”
Ben encountered the seal in the Farne Islands, just off Northumberland.
He said: “I’ve been diving with seals for the last 20 years – I spend more time with grey seals than anybody else in the world.
“During that time, they have taught me how to dive in a way that makes them feel relaxed, and move underwater in a way that they like.
“So when I’m diving, they will always come over to me and swim around me – but purely to play. It’s always on their terms.
“I’m very lucky that I get to do this in my spare time. I’m always very relaxed when my dive buddies are seals. It’s a great way to de-stress underwater.
“I would trust any wild grey seal more than I would trust a domesticated dog,” Ben added.
He said that he often encounters the same seal colony when he goes diving in the Farne Islands – but very rarely sees the same seal.
The clip was shot in October 2019.