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UPY Behaviour - Winner
'Octopus Training' - Pasquale Vassallo
At the end of a session of free diving, I noticed a soccer ball, in the distance and on the surface. Intrigued I approached it, and then I noticed that below it was an octopus that was being pulled along by the current. I do not know what it was doing under the ball, but I think it is training for the next football World Cup! There was time for me to take a couple of shots before the octopus let go of the ball and dropped back to the seabed.
Judge's comment: This image provokes a rollercoaster ride of emotions: at first it makes me happy, then sad. It is impossible not to laugh at this composition seemingly showing an octopus with a ball for a head. Then as you think, you enjoy seeing the cephalopod playfully investigating with this strange object in its environment, happily waving its arms in the water. Then the photo poignantly reminds us that oceans have, for too long, been a rubbish dump for all our old and unwanted trash.
- Alex Mustard
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