By Luke Kenton
This diver’s journey beneath the ice-caps of north-eastern Russia revealed a stunning array of species, including a rare sea butterfly elegantly gliding in the darkness below.
North-eastern Russia is famed for its inhospitably cold conditions, but diver Alexander Benedik was brave enough to submerge himself in the -1C White Sea water in search of life below the ice.
Accompanying the stunning ice formations, the veteran diver was greeted by a host of striking sea life, including a rare sea butterfly – a type of arctic nudibranch – fluttering past his camera lens.
Diving for up to 70 minutes at a time, Alexander – who opted not to wear heated equipment in the sub-zero conditions in order to get the ‘perfect shot’ – was left ‘in awe’ of the bustling life around him, on March 2018.
Alexander said: “I chose to dive in this region because of the ice formations you can find there.
“I love ice formations, they’re all different and endless in their shapes.
“It was very challenging to film a 4cm floating creature [sea butterfly] – in the end it was just luck that I managed to get such a perfect shot of it flying along.
“The sitting jellyfish were incredible too – it was amazing to see first-hand.
“The creatures in the White Sea were amazing, I didn’t expect such an abundance of life.
“I didn’t use a heated vest– I needed to be able to operate the camera properly.
“It was an incredible experience – I will dive here again soon.”