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...Amazing underwater photos show beluga whales meeting divers at Arctic rehabilitation farm
Daily Mail ^ | 18th January 2010 | Lizzie Smith

Posted on 01/18/2010 2:41:04 PM PST by Daffynition

It's like no fish this beluga whale has ever seen before.

Deep in the Arctic ocean, daylight obscured by layers of ice and snow, the majestic animal has just come face to face with a scuba diver.

In the midst of the freezing waters of northern Russia's White Sea, the belugas seem fascinated by the humans - and vice-versa.

The encounter is taking place at a special whale sanctuary designed and built by marine biologists from St Petersburg University.

The 'natural farm' acts as a nursery for breeding whales, as well as acting as a rehabilitation centre for former performing animals before they are set into the wild.

The natural bay under the ice means that the whales are protected from the strong currents of the wider ocean and left to breed in peace, while also leaving them free to roam as they wish.

These wild whales are not endangered, but are considered to be threatened by pollution and loss of habitat.

Occasionally, guests at the local Arctic Circle Dive Centre can swim with the friendly giants, and get close enough to touch.

Arctic diver and photographer, Franco Banfi, 58, who captured these shots said: 'When a whale comes up to us and swims by, it looks you right in the eyes. Obviously we don't know what they think, but they are very curious creatures.

'Sometimes, I'm sure they're trying to figure out what we are and where we came from.

'As photographer, I've always been driven to bring photographs of animals one hardly ever sees to a printed page.'

But while the beluga, or white whale, is built for these harsh surroundings, the diving team face extremely tough conditions to get close to the gentle creatures.

[snip]

(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Outdoors; Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: marinebiology


1 posted on 01/18/2010 2:41:07 PM PST by Daffynition
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To: Daffynition

Pretty critters!


2 posted on 01/18/2010 2:43:12 PM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (THE SECOND AMENDMENT, A MATTER OF FACT, NOT A MATTER OF OPINION)
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To: Daffynition
beluga whales meeting divers...

So, do you swim here often?

3 posted on 01/18/2010 2:44:35 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (screw 'em.)
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To: Daffynition

"Photo #3 reminds me of a girl I dated once"

4 posted on 01/18/2010 2:44:44 PM PST by Doogle (DID YOU FORGET...to send your FR donation?...YOU TOO LURKERS!)
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To: Daffynition
Just wonderful
5 posted on 01/18/2010 2:45:17 PM PST by ColdOne (:^))
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To: Daffynition

They are amazing creatures and they are mammals like us.


6 posted on 01/18/2010 2:47:18 PM PST by Frantzie (TV - sending Americans towards Islamic serfdom - Cancel TV service NOW)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Sea World at San Diego has a few of these ....


7 posted on 01/18/2010 2:56:23 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Doogle

LOL


8 posted on 01/18/2010 3:03:30 PM PST by Anti-Kenyan
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To: Daffynition

One of my favorite whale recipes...

Ingredients:

3/4 to 1 kilo whale meat
50 g butter, tallow or lard
2-3 onions
Salt and pepper
Laurel leaf (optional)
600-700 ml water
Sauce colouring (caramel)
50 g flour
200 ml milk

Clean the meat: some say it’s enough to slice off about a centimetre off each side of the piece, others recommend soaking in milk overnight. This is only to ensure there will be no oily taste to the meat, but if it has been properly handled in the first place, it will not taste oily. Cut into steaks and beat with a meat mallet.

Slice the onions. Heat the cooking fat in a frying pan, brown the meat on all sides and put in a cooking pot, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown the onions in a frying pan and add half to the pot with the meat, along with the laurel leaf, if using. Set half the onions aside. Pour water into the frying pan and deglaze. Pour over the meat and cook for 15 to 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. Arrange the steaks on a serving dish and arrange the browned onions that were set aside on top.

Make a paste with the milk and flour and use it to thicken the cooking liquid left in the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with cooked potatoes and vegetables arranged around the meat and sprinkle parsley or cress over the dish. Serve gravy on the side.

I think the Beluga looks quite tender and if they will get
that close, you wouldn’t have trouble hitting one with
a spear gun...


9 posted on 01/18/2010 3:08:36 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: Daffynition

Whale tries to eat camera - yeah sure.


10 posted on 01/18/2010 3:12:06 PM PST by FastCoyote (I am intolerant of the intolerable.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

The Atlanta acquarium has a huge tank of Beluga Whales that are showcased swimming under water. They are amazingly agile, almost dolphin like.

I just pressed my nose against the side of the tank and watched them for about 20 minutes. Just beautiful. It was like they were performing ballet in the water.


11 posted on 01/18/2010 3:38:35 PM PST by Drea
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To: SWAMPSNIPER; Frantzie; the invisib1e hand

They’re magnificent critters. I had the experience of being in the water with them twice now. Belugas are magical.


12 posted on 01/18/2010 4:02:54 PM PST by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

13 posted on 01/18/2010 4:04:31 PM PST by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Doogle
Pucker up Doogle. ;-D


14 posted on 01/18/2010 4:06:03 PM PST by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

"eyelashes,it's got eyelashes"

15 posted on 01/18/2010 4:09:42 PM PST by Doogle (DID YOU FORGET...to send your FR donation?...YOU TOO LURKERS!)
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To: Doogle
Deal with it. It's over between us. I've found someone else. Someone with *Real* whiskers.


16 posted on 01/18/2010 4:27:41 PM PST by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

"I wish it was bacon."

17 posted on 01/18/2010 4:28:04 PM PST by paulycy (The Liberals' DOUBLE-STANDARDS are HATE CRIMES.)
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To: paulycy
LOL

M-O-A-R!


18 posted on 01/18/2010 4:31:12 PM PST by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

lol!


19 posted on 01/18/2010 4:37:40 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (screw 'em.)
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To: Doogle; Impy; GOPsterinMA; Perdogg

Yeah, the tongue in photo #3 looks a lot like a, uh... yeah...


20 posted on 01/18/2010 11:45:27 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: Doogle

Did she have teeth too ?


21 posted on 01/18/2010 11:50:27 PM PST by MetaThought
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To: fieldmarshaldj

na na na she ate a lot.....A LOOOTTTT


22 posted on 01/19/2010 2:39:24 AM PST by Doogle (DID YOU FORGET...to send your FR donation?...YOU TOO LURKERS!)
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To: MetaThought

only when she sneezed


23 posted on 01/19/2010 2:40:16 AM PST by Doogle (DID YOU FORGET...to send your FR donation?...YOU TOO LURKERS!)
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