Scuba diving can offer up once-in-a-lifetime experiences almost every time you go under the water. It gives you the opportunity to meet animals you could never encounter on land, not to mention the ability to explore centuries-old shipwrecks and beautiful reef environments. For one diver, his life was changed forever when he made an unforgettable friend during one of his dives. By now, his video has gone viral on YouTube, but here’s a look at the amazing story of Gary Grayson and his seal friend!
A Dive Like Any Other Day
The waters around the Isles of Scilly, England offer some great diving for the folks who live in the United Kingdom. One day, Gary Grayson and his friends decided to take advantage of the good conditions. They headed out for an afternoon of diving, just as they had many times before.
However, they had no idea that their “ordinary” excursion would truly turn into something remarkable. Thankfully for the rest of us, they managed to capture the entire experience on camera!
An Unexpected Audience
Most people dive so that they can take in the underwater environment in all of its glory. Divers know they’ll likely encounter sites like coral, fish, and various other underwater animals. Gary and his friends were no exception.
They were hoping to encounter some wildlife, but they were truly surprised whenever a couple of seals showed up and started interacting with them. They were like friendly neighbor dogs who came over to play!
Putting On A Show
Gary and his friends were used to bringing photography equipment with them on their dives. After all, no two dives were the same and you never know what you might be able to capture. Usually, Gary was the one who did most of the filming.
However, on this particular day, it was his friend who was handling the camera whenever the seals showed up. It was a good thing, too, because what followed was some truly adorable footage that would end up with millions of views on YouTube.
When they first spotted the seals, Gary’s friend got the camera up and running. As the seals got closer, they could see that they were only pups. The two divers remained as still as possible, doing their best not to spook the young seals as they approached.
The seals started to circle the divers. They were inquisitive and wanted to thoroughly check out the two-legged creatures who had just shown up in their underwater realm. Everyone was struck by an immediate excitement.
Seals really are just like big water-dwelling dogs. Just take a look at those big eyes and adorable whiskers! While they don’t necessarily have a tail, paws, or floppy ears, they do possess the same kind of inquisitiveness that most friendly dogs have.
That’s why it was no surprise that the seals Gary and his friend encountered were very curious as to what they were doing. The seals continued to circle and move closer to the two divers.
A Close Encounter
Gary was surprised that the seals were coming so close to him. Traditionally, wild seals were very cautious and not exactly the easiest animals to “befriend.” He was truly shocked that the animals were getting this close!
Gary had no idea just how up close and personal one of these little seal pups was going to get. Luckily, his friend would get the entire chance encounter on video to share with the entire world. What a beautiful moment.
As the seals got closer and closer, they eventually decided to take the next step and make contact with Gary. Just like a curious dog who sniffs at the hand of a new person before allowing them to pet their head, the seals started to nudge and Gary.
Soon, one of the seals was playfully nibbling at his gloved hand. AS it turned out, this was only a sign of the what was to come. Would things continue being fun and lighthearted or would they take a scary turn?
Not Normal Behavior
Gary’s encounter certainly wasn’t the first of its kind. Divers frequently “befriend” seals in the wild and dive with them. However, divers usually must swim with the seals for several days in order to gain their trust to the point where the animals will get close enough to allow for photographs.
In Gary’s case, the animals warmed up to him right away and were playfully nudging him within minutes. It was indeed a lucky encounter! In many other cases, a seal getting this close this fast would be a sign of aggression.
Graceful In The Water
If you’ve ever seen a seal on land, you know how clumsy they can be. They waddle around on their flippers, awkwardly, but can still manage to hop up on rocks, obstacles, and even onto the backs of boats. However, in the water, they’re quite graceful.
They can swim at quick bursts of speeds and turn on a dime when they need to. After they’re born, seals spend about 4 months with their mothers before going out on their own. It would seem this little guy was just looking for a new friend.
A Curious Creature
One of the seal pups decided to break all normal examples of behavior and approached Gary directly. It looked directly at him through his dive mask and then continued to explore his new-found friend.
Eventually, Gary’s friend managed to capture on film a truly adorable behavior. It would seem that this particular seal’s curiosity knew no bounds, as Gary would soon find out! You won’t believe what happened next.
The little seal was starting to get attached to Gary. It was swimming circles around the divers and would move in close to nudge Gary. The seal would rub its nose on Gary’s mask before making another circle around the group of divers.
Gary was amazed at his luck. As mentioned above, diving is full of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and it would seem that he was most definitely experiencing one now! Truly this was something that this diver would remember for the rest of his life.
A Remarkable Handshake
The seal continued to move in an out of the group, growing more and more comfortable with Gary. Finally, the seal seemed to want to make the meeting official. It placed its flipper on top of Gary’s hand as if to shake it!
With the formal greeting out of the way, the seal continued the encounter and started nibbling at Gary’s gloved hands. It would seem that the activities were just getting started. Gary simply couldn’t swim away now.
Waiting For Its Turn
There was a second seal circling the group, too. It began to come in and nibble at Gary’s legs, just as the seal was doing to his hands. It was as if it was just passing the time until it got the opportunity to shake hands with Gary, too.
Gary would later comment that he was aware there were multiple seals in the water. They were buzzing in and out of their circle but he was focusing on the friendly little guy who was nibbling at his gloves.
An Experienced Diver
Gary was an experienced diver, but even he would admit that he’d never experienced anything like what was happening with the seal. The YouTube video would show that the second seal was swimming in close, trying to join his companion and new friend.
However, it would seem that Gary was occupied with the first animal, as if he didn’t notice the other seal. Besides, the first seal wasn’t done playing with Gary. Soon Gary would find himself surrounded by loving seals.
More Dog Behavior
It would seem that Gary and the seal had become fast friends. They’d gone through the mandatory handshake and nose bumping and now the seal wanted more. Gary was surprised when the animal rolled over on its back, just like a dog.
So, just like he would a dog, Gary started scratching the seal on its belly. After a few minutes of belly rubbing, Gary stopped. But the seal apparently wasn’t done, because it started patting Gary’s hand with its flipper as if asking him to continue.
Having A Great Time
It’s clear in this photo that the seal was having a great time! Just like a fun-loving puppy, it would roll over on its back time and time again, letting Gary rub its belly. These creature are truly the dogs of the sea.
It’s been said many times that seals are like big water puppies, and this guy was definitely living up to the reputation! And this seal wasn’t done offering up surprises, it would seem. This biggest surprise was coming up next.
Enjoying Every Minute
We can assume that the seals had not had a lot of interactions with humans prior to that day. That didn’t stop them from getting close to the humans, though. Their interaction was natural as if they had been companions for years upon years.
As you can see, at least one of the animals had found a new favorite hobby—belly rubs! Experts on seals have often commented that seals are much like dogs; sweet and curious. Imagine a world where seals can be our underwater dogs.
It was the hand nibbling that started everything off. The seal would move in and give Gary’s gloved hand a gentle bite. Seals have very sharp teeth that are perfectly capable of puncturing the neoprene found in wetsuits and gloves.
However, it never bit through Gary’s gloves. It was always gentle and playful, with no intentions of harming the divers. They were always gentle and fun. It was just like meeting two dogs in a local dog park.
After the encounter back in 2014, Gary and his diving pal posted the video they had recorded to YouTube. It’s safe to say that it’s still pretty popular and likely will be popular for years and years to come. Who wouldn’t want to see something this amazing?
In fact, to date, the video has been viewed over 15 million times and has more than 10,000 likes from people all around the world! Gary has frequently made comments about his thoughts on the encounter.
As it turns out, Gary Grayson was no stranger to adventure. He had done many extreme things in his life prior to that fateful diving trip. He been sky-diving and was into extreme sports. This isn’t shocking or the guy who bonds with seals.
However, even with all of the crazy things he’d done while living life on the edge, one of them took the cake. He would always say that his top moment was the day he made friends with the seal. What else can possibly compare?
A Terrific Experience
For years, Gary has commented about how terrific his experience with the seal had been. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that he would never forget. This was truly a moment that made him glad to be alive.
He has told his story countless times, and he still loves to show the video. Gary has commented several times that all of his friends are probably bored to death by now with his retelling of the encounter with the friendly seal.
A Frequent Viewer
With more than 15 million views, it’s safe to assume that some people have probably viewed the video multiple times. As it turns, Gary has viewed it multiple times, too! He keeps the video on his phone and frequently re-watches it.
You can’t exactly blame the guy. Meeting and befriending a seal in such a short time is pretty remarkable, and reliving that moment will likely brighten up even the most stressful of days.
There are many species of seals that are on the endangered list. Stories like Gary’s can help bring awareness to their dire situation. Gary’s video shows just how loving and friendly the animals can be. Why would we feel the need to hurt them?
With some serious effort, we can ensure that future generations have the opportunities to make friends the way Gary did. With any luck, his video won’t be the only one of its kind. We expect a ton of new seal videos to pop up.
More Sea Pups
It’s clear that the seal Gary encountered lived up to its reputation as a big sea puppy. We know Gary would like another opportunity to visit. We’re certain that divers all over the world would like to share a similar experience.
Focusing on environmental responsibility and animal wellness will ensure that everyone continues to get those opportunities in the future. We hope to have the loving seals with us for years and years to come.