What is on your Bucket List? Within the space of a week, I managed to cross the two biggest critters off mine: mixing with the magnificent manta rays at Stradbroke Island and playing peek-a-boo with a Great White Shark called Bubbles and his sharkey friends in the Neptune Islands, South Australia. (Even terminal illness has its silver linings 🙂 )
I’m not sure when I first became fascinated by sharks, but over the past few years I’ve been privileged to do some of the best shark dives in the world. In recent months, my biggest fear in life had been about sharks. While I loved the intimacy of reef sharks feeding just 3 metres from where I sat at Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea and close encounters with bull sharks, lemon sharks, nurse sharks and more at Beqa in Fiji, I had become completely petrified by the idea of some day lying on my death bed without having ever had a close encounter with a great white shark.
Usually I share my underwater adventures with Spunky Abe or LP, but being recently ‘retired’ due to my significant health challenges means that now I’m pretty much in a position to board a plane for a solo adventure at insanely short notice. In this instance, I flew home from mantas on Monday, hit the internet on Tuesday to look for an opportunity to dive with Great Whites, and flew to Port Lincoln on Friday to make it happen! On this trip, I was in excellent company, as can be seen above with fellow adventurer Chad and shark expert Andrew Fox, and with Predapix shark photographer extraordinaire Sam Cahir (photobombing me – holding the camera that underwater film maker Chris Selman kindly let me borrow after mine flooded *groan* – in Andrew’s photo below):
Despite being chronically seasick for the first forty eight hours of the expedition, Dives 290-295 (one with the sea lions, one surface cage dive and three ocean floor dives with the infamous great whites) reminded me of stories about women who forget their labour pains immediately after first laying eyes upon the tiny fingers of their newborn child. Every time I feel the endless rocking of a boat on the ocean’s constantly unsettled surface, I promise myself that I will never subject my body to such vile seasickness again. But one look into the face of some Gorgeous Big Ocean Critter and all bets are off. How could anyone resist those deep, dark eyes? Those dorsal fins? Those sharp rows of teeth? And within minutes of being back on dry land, I’m already scouring the world for my next underwater adventure.
Yes, I’m aware of the debates surrounding cage diving, but I would not at this stage of life risk whatever time I have remaining swimming in the open water with Great Whites. As I was editing this video today, I had documentaries from ‘Shark Week’ running constantly in the background. I was not at all surprised to learn that the Great Whites of New Zealand are considered to be more aggressive than elsewhere in the world. I can only think that cage diving in South Australia and South Africa facilitates some sort of controlled familiarity between the two species that allows both to benefit from mutual curiosity. I was privileged to film one shark having its tumour biopsied which I will share with you in a future post, and I am so encouraged that the adventure company I dived with demonstrates genuine concern and conducts valuable research in the interests of the sharks it helps eco-tourists to interact with.
Until recently, the next big creature encounter on my Bucket List was to pat a tiger, but the following video (posted on Facebook yesterday by my friend Debbie) has challenged my conscience and compelled me to cross this off my list without doing it at all:
Of all encounters that people can have with animals, at least in visiting the Great White Sharks, it is the human who briefly occupies the cage while the wild beast roams free in its natural environment. If we wish to see these magnificent creatures in the wild, cage diving is the only sensible way for most people to achieve this, and it is an experience that I would recommend for divers and non-divers alike. Whenever we enter the water, we accept the risks and we respect the creatures we meet in all their exquisite diversity and fierce majesty. For me, cage diving is the underwater equivalent of an African safari, and one that I feel enormously privileged to have taken.
Once again, my sincere thanks to Andrew Fox for every one of the incredible photos attached to this post, and for making it possible for me to come up-close-and-personal with these beautiful wild animals in their underwater world. For these and all sharks, I am in awe without fear, and my heart overflows with undying love and absolute respect.
Love and a great white shark named Bubbles,
ps Tanks so much for taking the time to read through this post. Please check out some more of the underwater adventures on my blog while you are here …
pps And don’t forget to follow Pink Tank Scuba on Facebook! 😀
20 thoughts on “Great White Shark Video”
WOW, well done! Another great video to add to your collection.
Thanks so much for sharing it with us, we loved it!
What a big fishie you got to play with. J
Have a good night and look forward to seeing you and hopefully Abe on Sunday.
Love you oceans deep!
Kirb & Nancy
Tank you so much for your kind words, Kirby and Nancy. This was definitely one of the underwater highlights of my life! Lovely big fishies, and not too scary at all – so glad you enjoyed the video! 🙂 Looking forward to catching up with you both on the weekend! Love you both to the bottom of the ocean, my Precious Parents xxx
Excellent video and story.
🙂 🙂 🙂
Tanks, LP! 😊😊😊
They look so graceful until they strike!
I think they are the perfect balance of grace and strength! I actually had one bite down on the top of the cage above my head at one point – unfortunately I had my camera set on still rather than video when it happened, so I did get one shot, but I was more interested in the pure power of the animal and the thrill of the experience to want to watch it happening through the lens, rather than with my own amazed eyes 😉
Finally got the chance to watch your video—what beautiful animals!
Tank you for taking the time to watch, Ellen & Seth. I was actually surprised by how non-menacing and non-frightening the great whites were. They are just very quiet and curious and a far cry from the Spielberg-inspired monster that inhabits most of our misguided imaginations. It is such a privilege to see their beauty. This video was recently shared on a large Facebook page (95.7 KJR) and I was disappointed by a few of the comments that said ‘Boring’ and ‘I expected dramatic awful to happen but I was disappointed that nothing did!’To me, the sheer size and beauty of these animals is all that I could hope for and more – tank you for admiring their beauty with me 🙂 Love and bubbles, PT xxx
I’m so sorry to hear you got those negative comments! I guess the internet is full of stuff like that but fortunately the wordpress bloggers seem a pretty supportive group. It’s too bad great whites have been so misrepresented. I’ve never had an encounter with them, but they seem to be much more beautiful and graceful than people imagine, and much less monster-like!
So sad that people prefer to buy into Spielberg’s monster image rather than the true beauty and majesty of these amazing creatures. I guess I see my challenge as being to help people to see life and the critters I have been privileged to encounter from a new perspective. They really are worth understanding, rather than fearing. Tanks so much for your ongoing support, Ellen & Seth! 🙂 Love and bubbles, PT xxx
P.S. The tiger video was heart-wrenching. Good choice to forgo that one.
I know – too sad for words – no more Sea Worlds, circuses or beautiful big trapped cats for this liddle pink duck 😦
Thanks for sharing your Great White Shark experiences! A guy who dived all his life told me he was spear-fishing once and a Great White Shark showed up behind him. He dropped the fish he had caught and the shark just looked at him and swam away.
He said it was one of the most amazing dive experiences he ever had. Unforgettable. 😊
Sadly many so-called shark ‘attacks’ (including the tragic death of an 18 year old boy in QLD this week) involve people who are carrying fish after spear-fishing. That guy you spoke to was very wise and lucky and proved the point that sharks are attracted by dead fish, not humans, when these accidents occur. Very cool to see a great white while swimming, though I think I’d definitely feel safer inside the cage 🙂
It was an amazing story and interesting that the shark just swam away. There is obviously luck involved here. But still it proves that sharks don’t deserve their fearsome reputation entirely.
Totally agree! Definitely not just mindless killing machines 😊😊😊
Have a happy day PT! 😄
Oh PT, you are so much braver than I would ever be! That was so courageous and yet so magnificent to see. I so admire you and your courage and lust for life. I know that you feel most alive underwater and as long as you have breath, keep doing it girl! I believe it is what God has given you in your heart to keep you here with us to show us His beauty under water!
Much love and hugs and bubbles!!!
Rhonda Radandt U.S.A.
Tank you so much, Rhonda. Tankfully Spielberg was just imagining what these beautiful creatures were like, so facing them in person from the safety of a cage is nothing like swimming with Jaws in the movie 😉 I don’t know if I am brave, but I do think I am becoming pretty fearless 😉 I am constantly in awe of everything I see in nature and I am filled with awe, wonder and a sense of worship every time I experience the ocean and all its incredible treasures 🙂 It is my absolute privilege to share what I see with those who may not get to see it for themselves 😀 Big, bright, bouncy bubbles for you today, PT 😀 xxx
You most certainly are brave, but you place your confidence in the One that knitted you in your mother’s womb and has known you all along. Becoming fearless is good if is it based in the confidence you have in Christ. And I can feel your sense of worship when you are under the water and I will continue to share your posts in honor of Him and you because you are doing what I believe He has called you to do.
Hugs & bubbles from your friend in the U.S.A,