Yup, that’s a nekkid woman swimming in below-freezing seawater.
Braving sub-zero temperatures, she has thrown caution — and her clothes — to the wind to tame two beluga whales in a unique and controversial experiment.
Natalia Avseenko, 36, was persuaded to strip naked as marine experts believe belugas do not like to be touched by artificial materials such as diving suits.
The skilled Russian diver took the plunge as the water temperature hit minus 1.5 degrees Centigrade.
The taming of the whales happened in the Murmansk Oblast region in the far north-west of Russia at the shore of the White Sea near the Arctic Circle branch of the Utrish Dophinarium.
An area of the sea is enclosed to stop whales and dolphins getting out and instructors tame the mammals before they are transported to dolphinariums around the world — a practice many animal conservationists consider cruel.
— “Princess of whales: How a naked female scientist tries to tame belugas in the freezing Arctic.” Daily Mail, 16 June 2011.
Let’s assume that their theory is correct and that the belugas do not enjoy contact with artificial materials, such as diving suits. This would be an argument for taking off one’s gloves, at best. What other parts of the human body do belugas need to be familiarised with?
The staff at whatever aquarium or zoo these captured belugas end up in are going to be wearing wetsuits, after all.