Scuba Diving - - Encounters - TEXT AND PHOTO BY AUDUN RIKARDSEN

One May, a rare guest turned up on an is­land off the coast of Tromsø. I watched this young male wal­rus from a dis­tance for weeks. When he fi­nally ap­proached, he gen­tly stroked my hand with his whiskers; I named him Buddy. I vis­ited him for the next month and a half and got to know his per­son­al­ity. I could tell whether he was grumpy or if he was hav­ing fun. Buddy would tease me by splash­ing me with wa­ter — as he’s do­ing here dur­ing a mid­night sum­mer swim.

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