It's that time of year again: Entries from the 2012 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest are flowing in!
While there are several amazing shots (click here to see all the recent entries), one photo is particularly eye-catching: an image by James Morgan which shows Enal, a young boy, riding on the tail of a tawny nurse shark underwater in Sulawesi, Indonesia.
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Although the photograph is stunning, it should probably be noted that this is definitely not something the average beachgoer should attempt.
While the tawny nurse shark is known to be rather docile, there have been incidents of non-fatal attacks on humans, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. The shark has "strong jaws and sharp cutting teeth" and "should be regarded as potentially dangerous."
Tawny nurse sharks are native to the coastlines of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and can be found in shallow waters and seagrass beds, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Due to heavy fishing in the areas they inhabit, the sharks are listed as "vulnerable" on the Red List of threatened species.
For more amazing National Geographic photos, check out their 2012 Outdoor Wallpaper contest.
Indonesia: Photograph by James Morgan, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Enal, a young sea nomad, rides on the tail of a tawny nurse shark, in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Marine nomadism has almost completely disappeared in South East Asia as a result of severe marine degradation. I believe children such as Enal have stories that could prove pivotal in contemporary marine conservation
Mount Bromo: Photograph by Helminadia Caryati, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Taken in the morning at Mount Bromo, East Java Indonesia
The Black Fall: Photograph by Giacomo Ciangottini, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Svartifoss (The Black Fall) is surrounded by dark lava columns, which give rise to its name. The hexagonal columns were formed inside a lava flow which cooled extremely slowly, giving rise to crystallization.
Ramu: Photograph by Lauren Volo, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: In front of my hotel on the river banks, Ramu the elephant and his handler came walking along and attracted this small European girl (tourist) attention. Ramu was drawn on his forehead with chalk.
Cherry Blossom: Photograph by Hisao Mogi, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: I sat down a stump for rest after stroll in Nara Park, and watching deer. They were eating fallen cherry blossom petals in peacefully. Suddenly strong wind blew out and cherry blossom petals were started to fall on the deer.It is like a shower of falling cherry blossom petals. It is called "Hana Fubuki" in Japanese, literally means flower snowstorm.
Christiane: Photograph by Geralyn Shukwit, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Christiane, a child of the Roofless Movement in Salvador Brazil. A beautiful spirit living a life not hers by choice, but she brings love and light to all around her.