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Amazing shots of Beluga whales

Close encounter: A scuba diver braves temperatures of -10C to approach the whale

These incredible, almost unbelievable, shots of Beluga whales in Russia’s White Sea seem too beautiful to be real. Far beneath ice in a whale sanctuary photographer Franco Banfi and team took handsaw to ice and dived below.  ‘When a whale comes up to us and swims by, it looks you right in the eyes. Sometimes, I’m sure they’re trying to figure out what we are and where we came from,” is how he described the experience.

I got a little choked up looking at the images. While the natural disaster in Haiti continues to dominate TV news I was reminded that the natural world is both destructive and beautiful. These pictures prove beauty can be found almost anywhere. Even far beneath ice.