19 amazing underwater photos that will make you re-think life on dry land.

Heads up, Ariel: There's something positively mind-blowing going on under the sea.

These absolutely gorgeous photographs just made a big splash in the international Underwater Photographer of the Year competition for 2018. The annual contest showcases more than 100 of the world's best photos captured in oceans, lakes, rivers, and even swimming pools. With winners in 11 categories, including portraits, wide-angle, and wrecks, the competition brings out seasoned professionals and rising stars in this beautiful — albeit somewhat soggy — hobby.

Underwater photography greats Peter Rowlands, Martin Edge, and Alex Mustard judged more than 5,000 entries to crown the winners. Here are 19 of the best, including Tobias Friedrich's "Cycle War," the image named photograph of the year.


1. Just when you thought you'd seen every fish in the sea...

Two fighting anthias in Tulamben, Bali. ©Anders Nyberg/UPY 2018.

2. ... something swims by and surprises you.

A juvenile grouper hides inside a pink sponge in the Jardines de la Reina reefs on the south coast of Cuba. ©Nicholas More/UPY 2018.

3. Like, really surprises you.

Get a room you two!

Actually, these tompot blennies aren't kissing; they're in a fierce battle in Swanage Pier, U.K. ©Henley Spires/UPY 2018.

4.  It's bold and colorful down there.

A male corkwing wrasse appears in Bovisand Harbor, Plymouth, U.K. ©Kirsty Andrews/UPY 2018.

5. Busy and beautiful too. (Even when it's a bit intimidating.)

The underbelly of a docile sand tiger shark and a large school of "bait fish" in North Carolina. ©Tanya Houppermans/UPY 2018.

6. And on its best days, underwater life is a weird and wonderful combination of all of the above.

Haven't we all been stuck inside a jellyfish at one point in our lives? Hang in there, buddy.

A juvenile trevally is wedged between the tentacles and bell of a jellyfish in Janao Bay, Philippines. ©Scott Gutsy Tuason/UPY 2018.

7. The photographers were able to capture some totally delightful surprises...

A crab feeds in the Vuoksi River, Finland. ©Mika Saareila/UPY 2018.

8. ...like this haunting dance of fierce predators...

Bull sharks swim in the deep blue sea of Ponta Del Ouro, Mozambique. ©Sylvie Ayer/UPY 2018.

9. ...and these graceful, lithe swans that look a little more like lovebirds.

Swans feed in the waters of Loch Lomand, Scotland. ©Grant Thomas/UPY 2018.

10. It doesn't get much more impressive than this commanding humpback whale saying hello.

A humpback whale assumes the "spy hopping" posture in Vavau, Tonga. ©Greg Lecoeur/UPY 2018.

11. But then you see this micro seahorse captured with a macro lens and remember that size isn't everything.

A Japanese pygmy seahorse blends in to its surroundings in Kashiwajima, Japan. ©TianHong Wang/UPY 2018.

12. There's this sweet sea lion, who could teach a masterclass on the perfect selfie.

A sea lion poses for the camera in Julien Bay, Australia. ©Greg Lecoeur/UPY 2018.

13. And so could this Asiatic cormorant, who made sure to show off its good side.

The elegant bird dives for fish in Osezaki, Japan. ©Filippo Borghi/UPY 2018.

14. And we can't leave out this "otter-ly" adorable little swimmer.

An Asian small-clawed otter swims during a training session before it's released back into the wild. ©Robert Marc Lehmann/UPY 2018.

15. Though sea creatures aren't the only ones making a life down below.

The ex-USS Kittiwake sat upright in the waters of Grand Cayman for more than 250 years before surge from a hurricane knocked it over. ©Susannah H. Snowden-Smith/UPY 2018.

16. Humans can't help but experience the thrills....

Musician and surfer Donavon Frankenreiter enjoys the waves in Tavarua, Fiji. ©Rodney Bursiel/UPY 2018.

17. ...and chills of life in the big blue sea.

This haunting image is "Cycle War," by Tobias Friedrich, winner of the Underwater Photograph of the Year.

"Cycle War." ©Tobias Friedrich/UPY 2018.

The photograph captures motorcycles on a truck on the frequently photographed wreckage of the SS Thistlegorm off the coast of Egypt in the Red Sea. Of this winning entry, contest judge Peter Rowlands said, "It is of a subject which has been photographed literally thousands of times. The artistic skill is to visualize such an image and the photographic talent is to achieve it. Perfectly lit and composed, I predict that there will never be a better shot of this subject from now on."

18. But it turns out humans have left a lot of vehicles down there.

This car went through the ice of Finland's Saimaa lake, but no one was hurt.

Always remember where you parked! ©Pekka Tuuri/UPY 2018.

19.  But you can't really blame those people for getting a little too close to the breathtaking beauty of life underwater.

And more importantly, who would want to?

A healthy shark population swims at sunset in Moorea, French Polynesia. ©Renee Capozzola/UPY 2018.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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