Henley Spiers. Diving Gannet.

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The handsome northern gannets lead a dualistic existence in Shetland, Scotland, UK. In the nest, their newborn is carefully nurtured and a couple’s bond is reinforced by pointing sharp beaks to the sky as they tenderly stroke their white necks together. In flight, hunting mode takes over, and piercing yellow eyes, fringed with blue circles, scour the sea for prey. Their long wingspan and streamlined bodies make flying look effortless, gliding along with just the occasional pulse of their wings.

When fish are spotted, the gannets fly into the wind and stretch out their wings as brakes, precisely adjusting their position in relation to their quarry. Hitting the frigid water faster than an Olympic diver, these incredible birds have evolved air sacs in the head and chest to survive these repeated heavy impacts. From underwater, the sound was thunderous as streamlined, white torpedoes pierced the surface.

Henley Spiers is a renowned underwater photographer, writer, and expedition leader who has fast become one of the most highly decorated wildlife image-makers in the world. He is currently installed as the first ever Storyteller in Residence for Oceanographic Magazine.

Follow Henly on Instagram @henleyspiersphoto

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