A GROUP of thrilled kayakers have described their chance meeting with Ron the seal as a 'once in a lifetime' experience.

The seal, affectionately nicknamed Ron, or 'Ronseal' after the famous DIY brand, has become somewhat of a local celebrity in Purbeck and Poole Harbour.

A string of sightings and playful interactions have been reported by fishermen, kayakers, swimmers, yachtsmen and beach-goers over the past few months.

In the latest encounter, captured on camera and film by kayaker Lucy Godley, Ron tried a favourite trick of his - to propel himself out of the water onto one of the kayaks using his flippers.

Lucy told the Echo: "He was very friendly and happy to see what we were doing.

"I believe he's the only one sited in this area so I bet he was happy to play with some friends. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and still can't believe it happened to us."

Lucy, aged 20, was with Luke Whiting and Callum Howlett on an evening kayak tour at Studland, last week, when their paths crossed with Ron.

"We saw this lady in the water with what we thought was her dog," explained Lucy. "The next minute he disappeared and popped up by our kayaks.

"He was watching us for a while and we kept very still. He then decided to try and jump up on our kayaks, which he is known to do with paddlers.

"After a while we got into the sea one by one, he was very fascinated with us and he would pop up and nibble our feet."

Earlier this year Andrew Linstead filmed Ron as he made a series of playful attempts to hoist himself onto his kayak, before losing his balance and slipping back into the water.

Dorset Wildlife Trust living seas manager Peter Tinsley, said: "Please remember that these are wild animals, it is OK for them to choose to approach a kayak, but you wouldn't want people approaching them.

"If you are out on the water and see a seal, even if it is coming towards you, either keep on a steady, slow course so you're entirely predictable or stop.

"We certainly would encourage any reports of sightings, particularly with photos, as we can sometimes identify individuals."

Contact Peter at kimmeridge@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk