Pam's delight after close encounter with a seal near Felpham beach
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Pam, who lives nearby, said it was an experience she will ‘never forget’, and couldn’t believe it when the animal came up beside her from underneath the waves.
"We swam parallel for a while only a couple of metres apart. The seal would then dive down into the sea and, wondering where it was, I would suddenly feel it brush gently by my legs!”
Seals are well known for their kind, playful nature, but some males grow to be eight feet long and weigh up to 350kgs, so it must have been terrifying at first. Sooner rather than later, though, Pam realised what the seal really wanted.
"To begin with I squealed but after five or six times, I realised this big gentle giant was playing with me. Just incredible, awesome,” she added.
Pam swam with the seal for half an hour before reluctantly walking back to shore, where a friend told her that the seal had watched her go, almost as if saying goodbye, then dived underwater.
“To have the incredible experience of a seal playing with you close by, is hard to express. Being alone in the sea with this beautiful large wild creature was an experience I will never forget.”
The moment was captured by amateur photographer Ged Burnett, who said he raced to the scene, camera in hand, after his wife called to say she’d spotted a seal close to their nearest slipway.
"Just as I got to the spot I saw Pam entering the water. I took about 50 shots in all, mostly just the seal,” he said. Ged moved to Felpham just six months ago, and has been keen to photograph a seal ever since his partner spotted a few on her way back from a morning walk. “Eventually the two were swimming close enough together to get a few shots with the pair of them in the same frame.”
“My sincere thanks to Ged who took this beautiful photo of us,” Pam said. “A memory of this incredible experience!”