London - Beneath the chilly waters of the North Sea, a warm welcome seems an unlikely prospect.
But these friendly seals were so pleased to have bumped into their human visitors that they appear to be posing for sub-aqua selfies – sealfies if you like.
Even renowned underwater photographer Alex Mustard was surprised when one of the mammals mischievously appeared behind him.
He said: “This young seal was sneaking up behind me, so I actually turned my camera round to face me so I could see what it was doing in the reflection in the lens. Once I saw the reflection I realised what a funny scene it was and pressed the shutter.”
His picture, taken near the Farne Islands off Northumberland, features in his new book Secrets Of The Seas, co-written with Callum Roberts and published by Bloomsbury.
On a separate occasion, Spencer Burrows, another underwater photographer, was approached by a grey seal in the same area with its flippers wide open and what appears to be a huge smile on its face – almost looking as if it was about to hug him.
Around half of the world’s population of grey seals are found around British coasts, with numbers here doubling since 1960.