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Seal photo wins national accolade for Aber scuba diver

Winner: The photograph which won the award
Playful: The seal was snapped in this picture

A SCUBA DIVER has won national recognition for her photography after coming close up and personal with an inquisitive grey seal.

The quirky image of the playful seal with weeds balanced on its nose was highly commended in the British Sub-Aqua Club’s (BSAC) nationwide Great British Diving photo competition.

The photo was taken in the Scilly Isles by Kerry Lewis 43, who is a Dive Leader with with Aberystwyth-based BSAC club the Cantre’r Gwaelod Divers.

Kerry also shot a video of two seals playing with each other on the same trip to the Scilly Isles, earlier this year.

View the video on our Facebook page here.

She has released the video to help raise awareness of the need to protect British marine life, together with a gallery of images of seals taken in the Scilly Isles and off the west coast of Wales near her home.

Kerry said: “We were exploring in shallow water and about six seals swam up to us and started playing. Two or three of them were particularly inquisitive so we let them come up to us.

“I got quite a few photos and also took some video of two of the seals playing together. It was really cute and amazing to see up close.

“I chose the photo to enter into the BSAC Great British diving competition because I just thought it was so funny with the weeds on its head, something a bit quirky.”

Kerry, who is a lecturer in environmental and marine law at the University of Aberystwyth, first learned to dive in Australia twenty years ago and often dived on holiday, before getting into diving in colder UK waters with BSAC a decade ago.

Her seal photo, taken while diving with marine protection project Seasearch, was commended in the topside category of the BSAC Great British Diving photo competition.

“I really liked the idea of the BSAC competition, because I absolutely love diving in the UK,” said Kerry.

“It’s OK diving in warmer waters, it’s very nice, but once you get into diving in the colder waters in the UK you can learn and see so much, there’s nothing else like it.

She added: “I would encourage anyone who is interested to get involved through their local BSAC club.”

BSAC is the national governing body for scuba diving and is made up of 120 dive centres and 900 plus family friendly and sociable clubs, run by volunteers, up and down the country and abroad. The Duke of Cambridge is the club’s President.

It represents more than 30,000 scuba divers and snorkellers and welcomes new members from complete beginners upwards including those who have trained with other agencies.

BSAC chief Executive Mary Tetley said: “The BSAC Great British Diving competition was launched to boost the presence of British divers on social media and to show the world just how great British diving really is.

“We had lots of wonderful entries from all over the UK, from divers with huge post-dive smiles, to fantastic wrecks, to many seal and examples of marine life.

“Kerry’s photo is really fun and truly shows the spirit of Great British Diving and we are so pleased she entered – it’s a great candid capture.”

The photo competition was run on-line via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GreatBritishDiving, between July 15 and October 7.

There were 343 photos entered and more than 2,300 people voted for the picture they thought best encapsulated the spirit of Great British Diving, in two categories topside and underwater.

Anyone interested in finding out more about diving in the Aberystwyth area can find out more on the Cantre’r Gwaelod Divers club website: www.aberystwythsubaquaclub.org.uk/

For more information about BSAC go to www.bsac.com or follow the organisation on Facebook or Twitter @BSACDIVERS

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Jon Coles

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