WHEN Steve Blight goes for his regular kayaking trip he normally has nothing but the elements for company.
But when he made his last trip up Southampton Water he made an unlikely friend when a playful seal decided to make his acquaintance.
Far from being scared of him it came up to the side of his kayak, chased around and stayed with him for 20 minutes as he took the photographs above.
Forty-eight-year-old Mr Blight, from Fawley had gone for his usual weekend morning kayak at 7.30am.
And he was 100 yards off shore from Marchwood Military Port when the friendly critter popped its head up.
The dad of two, a contractor at Cape Industrial Services, said: “It was really unexpected – I’ve seen them before but I’ve never seen them that far up Southampton Water and certainly not that close up.
“It popped its head up and I thought it would disappear but then it came closer to me.
“It was chasing me around in circles and being very playful, and came right up to the side of the kayak.
“I was stunned by it, it was absolutely amazing, the chance of a lifetime. I texted my daughters a picture of the seal, and they replied saying ‘awesome Dad, we want one’.”
Local marine experts say it is not that unusual for a seal to be so friendly.
Tim Ferrero, head of marine conservation at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT), said: “I think a seal in the water is in its comfort zone so if they are curious about something they will just go and have a look.
“Kayakers are fairly quiet and serene so I think that was what led to this nice encounter.”