Underwater Pals Playing
Occurred on / Northumberland coast, UK
Info: This video shows a grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) playing with Ben off the Northumberland coast, UK. I would not advocate that divers ever touch marine life, especially seals as they have powerful jaws, full of sharp teeth and numerous bacteria that can result in "seal finger" or other infections.
I have dived with, observed and filmed grey seals for over 18 years and over this period they have helped show me how to dive with them in a way that they feel very relaxed. I dive with seals all year round and cannot remember when I last dived and wasn't approached by a seal underwater that made physical contact with me.
To those who may be critical of any contact, please understand that the seal is 100% in control of any underwater encounters. They are social animals that engage in play and are simply redirecting play to me as a diver. These encounters are not with conditioned, habituated or "tame" seals, in fact, I very rarely dive with the same seals. The reason I have such access is because of techniques learned from the seals - mainly movement and vocalizations. I have taken these techniques and dived with seals in remote locations around the UK coast with exactly the same results.
These videos hopefully demonstrate how gentle and trusting seals can be. They are intelligent and having spent more time underwater with grey seals than probably anyone in the world, I would trust wild grey seals more than any domesticated dog.
Respect nature and nature is full of surprises.