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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.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

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