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- A dramatic image has been released showing President Obama snorkeling among coral in the Pacific Ocean
- Wearing just a pair of swimming shorts, the president glides through the water off the coast of Midway Atoll
- President says growing up in Hawaii helped him to understand and appreciate the importance of the ocean
- Photographer Brian Skerry, who snapped the image, said President Obama was a 'strong and athletic swimmer'
He is used to being pictured in a suit and tie while giving speeches and meeting fellow world leaders.
But as he leaves the White House, a brand new picture has been released showing Barack Obama in a very different environment.
The extraordinary image shows the president wearing just a pair of swimming shorts as he snorkels among the wildlife in the Pacific Ocean.
The extraordinary picture of President Obama that has been released showing him snorkeling through the water in the Pacific Ocean
Published in the February edition of National Geographic, it was snapped by photographer Brian Skerry, as Obama glided through the water off the coast of Midway Atoll.
The island is a small atoll in the middle of the Pacific, halfway between the United States and China and not far from Hawaii, where the president grew up.
And he couldn't resist snorkeling close to the wildlife and coral and told the magazine growing up in Hawaii he 'knows what it’s like to jump into the ocean and understanding what it means when you see a sea turtle in the face of a wave.'
Before snorkeling, Obama toured the island of Midway Atoll which he made part of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
While there, the president paused for a moment alone as he walked away from the Battle of Midway Navy Memorial during the visit in September
And Mr Skerry remarked how Obama appeared to be a strong, athletic swimmer, who seemed relaxed as he relished both the exercise and beauty of the ocean.
He told the magazine: 'For a guy who is managed to the second, and is always in suits and ties, being out in the middle of the ocean had to be a real treat.'
The picture is believed to be the first taken underwater of a sitting president and echoes his childhood in Hawaii, which he credits with helping him understand the ocean.
The picture comes as President Obama enters his final days in the White House before making way for president-elect Donald Trump.
The picture comes as President Obama enters his final days in the White House before making way for president-elect Donald Trump. Pictured is Obama giving his farewell speech in Chicago last night
However, Republicans and business groups emboldened by Trump's victory are gearing up to reverse many of the administration's signature environmental moves, particularly those made since the election.
The outcome could determine whether eight years of Democratic rule in the White House leaves a lasting mark on the environment or quickly fades.
- The photo of President Obama is from the February issue of National Geographic magazine and appears in Sea of Hope: America's Underwater Treasures, premiering Sunday, January 15 at 7/6c on National Geographic.