After judges were flooded with 17,000 entries for the annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, the time came to sift through the reams of photographs to crown three winners.
Not an easy task, but they finally awarded first place to Anuar Patjane Floriuk of Tehuacán Puebla, Mexico, with his image showing divers swimming around a humpback whale.
"The photo wasn’t planned," Floriuk said. "I was taking photos near the head of the whale, and all of a sudden she began to swim toward the rest of the diving team. The divers gave the whale and her calf space, and I just clicked at the moment when the flow and composition seemed right."
Seven further photographs were awarded a special merit - so be prepared to have a serious case wanderlust when you're scrolling through these awe-inspiring photographs of our Planet Earth.