A Wild Encounter..

I was visiting with my good friends Hanne and Klausbernd in North Norfolk again last week.  I met Hanne and Klausbernd through our respective blogs and it was such a pleasure to see them again.  The weather was superb, the end of August.  It was evident that Autumn was nipping at the heals of summer first thing in the morning but during the day, we enjoyed glorious warm sunshine and I did something I thought I would never do in the UK again, I went into the sea.  The North Sea at that!.

I struggled down to the water’s edge on my two crutches, dipped my toe in and was surprised to find the water was really OK so I went in further.  As a wave crashed in, surging water, that suddenly seemed a whole lot colder that it had initially, up over my belly, that was it so I thought I’d have a swim.

Of course swim is a fairly loose term when you’ve two crutches strapped to your arms but I floundered about a bit for a while.  The waves were quite large so it was a bit of a struggle but I was managing OK when I saw two people pointing at me.  I figured at first they were a bit concerned about the guy with the crutches getting washed about by the surf but then I became aware of something in my peripheral vision.  A dark shape.  I turned to face whatever this was in the water and came face to face with the most beautiful seal with the blackest, deepest eyes.

We bobbed there in the water for the longest time, just blinking at each other.  He ducked under the water, swam around me a few times but always bobbed back up again to face me.   I honestly believe this seal was concerned for my welfare and when he was sure I was OK.  He swam away.  It was one of those very rare encounters with a wild creature when you know you’ve connected.  It was incredibly moving and I will never forget it.  These sea mammals are super intelligent and seem to possess something that sadly far too many human beings lack, empathy.

These photographs were taken on my previous visit to Norfolk.  Norfolk with its creeks and salt marshes, broads and of course the ocean, is all about boats and I love boats.. :-)

Blakeney, North Norfolk - Adrian Theze14mm f/11 1/320 sec. ISO-100

Blakeney, North Norfolk - Adrian Theze14mm 1/400 sec. ISO-100

Wells-next-the-Sea - Adrian Theze14mm  f/11 1/400 sec. ISO-100

Wells-next-the-Sea - Adrian Theze14mm f/11 1/400 sec. ISO-100

Adrian Theze Photo logo_2

60 responses

  1. What stunning photos. Your encounter with the seal sounds like a real soul connection. I believe he was looking out for your well-being. :-)

    September 9, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    • I think so too. Thank you so much! :-)

      September 9, 2016 at 5:53 pm

  2. Beautiful shots and your wild encounter is such a lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

    September 9, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    • It’s a pleasure. Thank you for your comment! :-)

      September 9, 2016 at 5:53 pm

  3. How kind to give us such a generous shout again, dear Adrian. Thanks a lot! :-) You show Blakeney and Wells from the best side, such gorgeous photos again. We have had so many glorious sunny days this week, now we hope for some rain for the garden.

    It was great having you. On week before you came, Pia stayed with us and one fine sunny day she walked to Blakeney Point. She went into the sea four times and had several encounters with seals and she said it was the highlight of her holiday. Probably just as uplifting as swimming with dolphins.
    We have little to fear from the curious seals. They have a similar level of intelligence to a dog and they can be incredibly gentle. Surprisingly, I learned at the seal sanctuary, seals are pretty good at ‘reading’ your intent or body language as high level mammals and I’m convinced, the seal playfully watching you was guarding you as well. <3
    Have a great weekend, no Scolt Head for us tomorrow, no ferry … :-)
    Big hug, Hanne

    September 9, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    • Thank you Dina and thank you so much for your very kind hospitality. My seal encounter brought to mind an encounter I had with a dolphin 20 odd years ago in Florida. I wasn’t in a great place and again, I connected with a wild animal that had a profound effect on me. I have no doubt that these animals are able to read us and respond accordingly. Have fun at Scolt Head tomorrow! Speak soon.. :-) x

      September 9, 2016 at 5:58 pm

  4. Exquisite! I am enjoying following your blog. We are thinking of traveling to this area and meeting up with Hanne and Klausbernd next year. In the meantime, I am looking forward to your posts!

    September 9, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    • Thank you so much. I have no doubt that you will have a wonderful time in North Norfolk. It really is very beautiful! :-)

      September 9, 2016 at 5:54 pm

  5. What an amazing encounter that was, Adrian! I’m sure you’re right about the empathy. Your photos are so breathtaking that they made me gasp out loud. That last one, I feel I could walk right into, and I wish I could. :) Have a wonderful weekend.

    September 9, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    • It really was Sylvia, very moving. I’m so glad you enjoyed these Norfolk photos, thank you! :-)

      September 10, 2016 at 9:12 am

  6. These are amazing shots. This is photography at its best.

    September 9, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    • Thank you very much indeed! :-)

      September 10, 2016 at 9:12 am

  7. Wow what a lot of amazing photos and in the photos I can see you had a fantastic time with friends

    September 9, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    • I did Lou, thank you! :-)

      September 10, 2016 at 9:12 am

  8. Aww what a lovely post and an unforgettable encounter :-) The seals can be very playful and curious, I remember one of the playing with my fins once, when I was diving. The pictures are beautiful, it’s a nice way of finishing my evening before retiring to bed. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us. It’s always nice to meet fellow bloggers :-)

    September 9, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    • Thank you Gin! It was an amazing moment and yes, the seals are very playful and curious. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. It really is nice to meet fellow bloggers! :-)

      September 10, 2016 at 9:15 am

  9. Love it.

    September 9, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      September 10, 2016 at 9:16 am

  10. Totally agree about other species and how blessed to connect 😊. Beautiful pics…love the blue sky and clouds.

    September 9, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    • Thank you Trees! We have so much to learn from the natural world and it’s tragic what’s being done to these beautiful creature’s habitat in the pursuit of profit for just a few.

      September 10, 2016 at 9:18 am

  11. Oh how wonderful Adrian!! Magical encounters like that stay with you forever :-D I am hoping to get my PADI certificate soon as I’ve been getting really into my open water swimming for the Swim Serpentine challenge. Swimming is the only active exercise I can do now but I love it! I’m really slow and I have been perfecting my own unique drunk-frog stroke but it’s been so good to actually get the exercise :-) I really want to do some of my open water dive training in Cornwall just to swim with the seals so will have to let you know when I get round to it!! Absolutely adore the skies in these photos :-)

    September 9, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    • It really was a special moment Sarah. I’m glad your training is going so well. I’m sure you’ll have your certificate soon. Swimming is superb exercise and I’m happy you’re getting so much from it. I will look forward to hearing about your Cornwall trip. Seals can be very playful. The Swim Serpentine challenge really does sound just that. I wish you the best of luck with that. Let me know how you get on! :-)

      September 10, 2016 at 9:22 am

      • I gather that the seals where my local dive school go to in Cornwall absolutely love playing and swimming around divers :-D I rather think I might end up having so much fun and laughter (sounds really weird through scuba gear!) I might not be able to gather myself enough to get pictures!

        September 11, 2016 at 12:08 am

      • I think the photographer in you will win out Sarah! I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.. :-)

        September 11, 2016 at 7:25 am

      • You’re probably right ;-) First up is getting Simon and I through our basic PADI then I can look at booking into the open water dives :-D

        September 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      • I have my fingers crossed for you both! :-)

        September 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      • Thanks Adrian :-)

        September 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      • :-)

        September 13, 2016 at 9:12 am

  12. I recognised Blakeney quay – just! Your photos put mine to shame! I must admit that north Norfolk was in the running when we were looking to relocate. It was just too expensive. You do make it look sensational (as does Dina).

    September 9, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    • Thank you Jude! House prices really have gone crazy along the Norfolk coast, as they have in so many areas. As you say, Dina’s photographs of Norfolk really are excellent and it’s been a pleasure to get to know her and Klausbernd and to visit the areas she photographs so beautifully. :-)

      September 10, 2016 at 9:25 am

  13. Beautiful Norfolk and your encounter with the seal something so special.

    September 10, 2016 at 11:56 am

    • It is and was indeed Paula, thank you! :-)

      September 10, 2016 at 12:18 pm

  14. Great images Adrian……but what a great wildlife experience too.

    September 10, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    • It really was Mark, very moving! Thank you. :-)

      September 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

  15. What an amazing experience. How marvelous for you! Pity you didn’t have your camera handy! ;)

    September 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    • Thank you Gunta, it was an amazing experience and like you say, if only I’d had a camera, preferably a waterproof one of course! :-)

      September 11, 2016 at 7:24 am

  16. A wonderful story, and superb photographs. Those clouds!

    September 10, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    • Thank you very much Lee! It was a great experience. :-)

      September 11, 2016 at 7:25 am

  17. I loved hearing about your close encounter with said seal ChillB … very special indeed . What an end to high Summer , the weather was glorious for you I know and your pictures here really show just how absolutely gorgeous our coastline can be . Particularly when the sun shines ;-)
    Finger’s x’d for next week !

    September 11, 2016 at 10:43 am

    • Thank you Poppy! It really was a very special moment. We are so lucky to be living on a fairly small island with such a varied coastline. It’s different in every county and in every county, there’s something special and unique about it. No surprise that the BBC TV series ‘Coast’ just seems to run and run.
      Fingers crossed indeed for next week. I’m looking forward to it very much. :-) x

      September 11, 2016 at 10:55 am

  18. Hey ya, lovely photographs.. and your encounter with the seal sounds so interesting..

    September 12, 2016 at 11:11 am

    • It was Sunil, thank you! :-)

      September 12, 2016 at 11:57 am

      • U mean Sunil clicked the photographs.. cool

        September 12, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      • :-)

        September 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

  19. A fabulous chance encounter. I hope someone took some shots of you and the seal.

    Lovely photography as usual.

    September 13, 2016 at 10:50 am

    • Thank you. Sadly Mr Dragon there were no cameras present. It would have been nice to have a record of the encounter however, it’s burned into my memory. A very special moment indeed.

      September 13, 2016 at 12:56 pm

  20. Good friends are a treasure we will never loose

    September 13, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    • I couldn’t agree with you more Lou! Thank you! :-)

      September 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm

  21. I must say; that sounds like quite an encounter. I am sure it was something you will never forget. Otherwise the photos are gorgeous as always, Adrian (even if the sun was shining!) I hope all four of us can come together for another rendezvous next year. :-)

    September 13, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    • Thank you Otto. It really was one of those rare encounters with a wild animal where you feel a connection was made. Quite remarkable. I am very much looking forward to the possibility that we might all meet in North Norfolk next year. That would be great! :-)

      September 14, 2016 at 8:00 am

  22. What a gorgeous series of waterside images, Adrian. The clouds are fantastic. How nice that you met up with Hanne and Klausbernd!

    September 13, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    • Thank you Jane. It has been great getting to know Hanne and Klausbernd. Meeting up with fellow bloggers in my experience has always been a great experience. We have become very good friends. :-)

      September 14, 2016 at 8:01 am

  23. Wonderful series of photos Adrian ~ but the best of this post is your story…wow. To be touched by nature as you were in the water with the seal ~ whether he/she was enjoying your company or looking out for your welfare, what an experience. Connections such as this in life are so rare, and so powerful.

    September 14, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    • Thank you Randall. It was a pretty amazing experience meeting with this seal in the surf. Definitely something I will always remember. These connections are indeed rare in this life and yes, very powerful. :-)

      September 16, 2016 at 7:39 am

  24. Black Lightness

    wow…great photos…simply and strong…

    September 16, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      September 17, 2016 at 6:05 am

  25. I’m so happy for you. Like Randall said, it’s so rare to experience a strong connection with another being like that.

    September 16, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    • It’s only happened to me twice in my life Lynn. Once at the Dolphin Research Institute in the Keys 20 odd years ago when a dolphin just swam to the edge of the jetty and seemed to single me out for some reason. I really wasn’t in a good place at that time. We were just there looking into each other’s eyes for an incredibly long time. That reduced me to tears it was so powerful and then with this lovely seal. Both experiences I know will be with me forever. :-)

      September 17, 2016 at 6:10 am

  26. An extraordinary story, I guess you wish you had a waterproof camera! I am sure the memory of that will live on,something to be valued highly. I have never visited this part of the East Coast and one day I really must make the effort and go there. The skies are vast and have such drama.

    September 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    • Thank you Andy. I will indeed remember this encounter always. To turn around to find a seal staring you in the face, blinking his/her eyes at you, really was a very touching and moving experience.
      The Norfolk skies are a landscape photographer’s dream as indeed are the skies of Suffolk, so brilliantly put down on canvas by Constable of course. It’s been such a pleasure to be able to visit with Hanne and Klausbernd and to re-visit a county I haven’t visited since I was in my teens. Then it was sailing boats and the Broads that took me there.

      September 23, 2016 at 4:44 pm