A British GP has experienced the encounter of a lifetime when a wild grey seal lovingly hugged him and patted his arm.
Ben Burville, a doctor by day and veteran diver of over 32 years by night, received the loving embrace and warming taps on the arm by the seal whilst he was diving off the coast of the Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK, in September.
Showing behavioral traits much like a puppy yearning for attention, the seal playfully approached Ben underwater, appearing to tap the diver in order to gain his attention before wrapping its flippers around him for the pair to share a comforting hug.
The seal proceeded to stay glued to the doctor’s arm, appearing to be fully entertained by the doctor’s eye mask and breathing gear.
Ben, a full-time GP in the coastal town of Amble, has dived for more than 32 years.
He is also a visiting researcher at Newcastle University’s marine biology department, studying grey seals and white beaked dolphins.
‘I realise that I am incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity and insight into their world that this facilitates,’ he said.
‘Having dived and observed grey seals for over 18 years, they have shown me how to dive with them in a way that they feel at ease.
‘When they hug you or hold your hand it is hard to describe the feeling – time stops.
‘You are 100 percent aware of being in that very moment, peaceful, calm, and I suppose the term is mindful.’
He added: ‘There is something about being with nature that is magical.’
Ben says the seals try to play games and remove his diving gear – as if they have an awareness of what he needs to stay alive underwater.
At one point in the clip, the seal pushes off his goggles.
‘They do so very gently and never hurt me,’ he said.
But he also points out that they are not tame, have long claws and harbour numerous bacteria in their mouths – so it is generally not advisable to touch them.
Source video: Carter clips
Source: Carter clips
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