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Our oceans,
wild and free

Main image: Dr Nick More

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For a deep dive into the wondrous world beneath the waves, look no further than these winning photos from the Ocean Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 competition.

The Ocean Photographer of the Year has a simple mission: to shine a light on the beauty of the ocean and the threats it faces.

Chosen from thousands of submissions from around the world, these photos certainly do that, revealing the richness of a submarine world, normally hidden from sight. From epic waves, to seaweed-like seahorses, to close-ups of sharks powering through in the blue – it’s a world that deserves to be celebrated and safeguarded.

COMPETITION WINNER: A surfer battles underwater turbulence from the ‘heaviest wave in the world’, Teahupo’o, which translate as ‘place of skulls’. French Polynesia.
Photo: Ben Thouard
A blanket octopus shows off its beautiful patterns and colours. The Philippines. Photo: Katherine Lu

A cormorant dives through a huge school of baitfish, creating a shape reminiscent of a human face. United States. Photo: Brook Peterson

A freediver swims with a matriarchal pod of five sperm whales. Dominica. Photo: Franco Banfi

A cave diver surveys an underwater cave system, surrounded by gigantic formations that have taken millennia to form. Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Photo: Tom St George
A diver moves through an abandoned sinkhole-like cenote, as if floating through a haunted forest. Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Photo: Martin Broen
An aggregation of critically endangered grey nurse sharks off the coast of New South Wales. Australia. Photo: Nicolas Remy
A scientist inspects a piece of coral being grown as part of the Unesco 1 Ocean programme. French Polynesia. Photo: Alexis Rosenfeld
A school of weedy seadragons – an extremely rare sight for these typically solitary animals. Australia. Photo: Steve Walsh
An Olive Ridley sea turtle entangled in a mass of ocean debris. Sri Lanka. Photo: Simon Lorenz
A dead sperm whale, beached and bloody, its tail showing signs of entanglement. Mexico. Photo: Rafael Fernandez Caballero
Polar bears make a ‘home’ of an abandoned station on Kolyuchin Island. Russia. Photo: Dmitry Kokh
A paper nautilus hitches a ride on a piece of plastic debris. Philippines. Photo: Magnus Lundgren

A bloom of bell jellyfish, with a whale shark in the waters below. Western Australia. Photo: Brooke Pyke

Waves break on a misty morning in Scarborough. United Kingdom. Photo: Michael Spencer

A whale shark swims into the blue, reflected beautifully on the calm surface above. Western Australia. Photo: Brooke Pyke

A freediver interacts with a sperm whale amid a cloud of sargassum weed. Dominica. Photo: Steve Woods
Onlookers are dwarfed by the scale of the waves at Nazaré. Portugal. Photo: Joao Pompeu
A pod of pilot whales pose for a family portrait. Spain. Photo: Rafael Fernandez Caballero
Two polar bear cubs cosy up to the mother. Norway. Photo: Nadia de Lange
A juvenile scalloped ribbonfish. Philippines. Photo: Magnus Lundgren
A large male polar bear explores the winter season’s thin and newly frozen ice. Norway. Photo: Florian Ledoux
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