An underwater cameraman has captured the tender moment a seal held his hand off the coast of Northumberland, England.
Ben Burville, an experienced diver who works as a doctor by day, has built up a rapport with seals in the area after nearly 20 years recording and observing them.
“Time stops when a wild animal chooses to interact like this on its terms. When it squeezes your hand and you squeeze back and the animal looks at you and squeezes in response; you are really suspended in that moment,” Burville told Storyful.
This video shows a seal exploring Burville’s diving gear, holding his hand, and rubbing his head.
“I would trust any wild grey seal underwater more than any domesticated dog. Seals are very gentle underwater and if they trust you and you respect them, they will respect you,” said Burville.
Burville works as a doctor in the coastal town of Amble, Northumberland. His work has been especially difficult due to the global pandemic, but diving with seals has helped him relax.
“I find this a great tonic to the stress of life and a very busy job as a GP in the NHS,” said Burville. Credit: Ben Burville via Storyful