The beauty of nature: Like a scene from a classic pre-Raphaelite painting, naked Natalia Avseenko swims with beluga whales in the Arctic
Photo Credit: Viktor Lyagushkin/KNS News
When I read this story last year I wasn't sure whether to believe it or not. Russian scientists at a Dophinarium near the Arctic Circle persuaded freediver Natalia Avseenko to swim naked in order to engage with belugas because the white whales dislike artificial materials such as clothing and diving suits. Avseenko spent more than ten minutes holding her breath in the subzero waters (1).
What was incredible was not the swimming in the nude in minus 1.5° C water, although at that temperature the average person could die in just five minutes; what I found amazing was that she held her breath for more than ten minutes. But a quick search reveals that the breath-holding record in the Guinness World Record is over 22 minutes (2).
Here is my take on the story: aside from the fact that the photo above displays a fine pair of belugas, I wonder if the modern world will ever see a naked female Muslim scientist. I wouldn't hold my breath.
UK Daily Mail Online, 15 Jun 2011, Princess of whales: How a naked female scientist tries to tame belugas in the freezing Arctic
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 average human could die if left in sub-zero temperature sea water for just five minutes.
However, Natalia is a yoga expert and used meditation techniques to hold her breath and stay under water for an incredible ten minutes and 40 seconds.
There are around 100,000 belugas in the wild.
TIME.com, 5 Jun 2012, German Diver Sets Breath-Holding Record: 22 Minutes, 22 Seconds
Let’s start with a bit of a disclaimer: German Tom Sietas, 35, has a lung capacity 20 percent larger than average for a person his size. But still, if you added 20 percent to the longest time you’ve held your breath under water would you reach 22 minutes and 22 seconds?
Sietas, competing in Changsha, China alongside former underwater breath-holding world record holder Ricardo Bahaia of Brazil, set what appears to be a new Guinness World Records mark by defeating Bahia’s 20:21 time by over two minutes, according to the Daily Mail.