Monday, November 10, 2014

Australian University Divers Have Up Close Encounter with a Great White

Great white spotted at Glenelg tyre reef - Photo by Jan Bush via Mark Sutcliffe via Adelaide Univ Scuba Club FB

Photo by Jan Bush via Mark Sutcliffe - Facebook
Mark Sutcliffe had an unexpected visit from a 3.5 to 4.0 meter female great white shark during a recent dive at Glenelg tyre reef which is 6 km off the coast of South Australia. Fortunately for all of us, Mark's dive partner Jan Busch was quick with a camera and was able to snap some fantastic photos of the encounter.

According to Mark via the Adelaide University Scuba Club Facebook page, it was an "interesting" dive and he notes that he did suck a bit of air when the shark appeared.  He and Jan waited for the shark to leave the area and they quickly exited the water omitting the dive safety stop.

We should also note that Mark mentioned he was wearing a Shark Shield. He states, "I think if a shark wants to take you it will, shield or not. Might just stop it from getting closer for a test bite or a nudge."

Photo by Jan Bush via Mark Sutcliffe - Facebook
Several of the comments on the club FB page expressed concern that if/when the media got wind of white pointer encounter, they may attempt to sensationalize the incident and demonize the shark. From scanning a few publications that have featured the photos, that doesn't appear to be the case so far. It is rather clear from reading the comments, the divers with the Adelaide University Surf Club have a strong appreciation for sharks and don't want to see them vilified. We say kudos to them.  To view all the photos, please visit the club page.

As an aside, on June 8, 2014, Chris Rapson encountered a great white shark at the same location and was able to capture some video. Chris estimated the size of that shark to be about 3 to 4 meters and he noted in the video description that the shark circled the group of divers until they safely exited the water. The video is 30 seconds in length and was shot in rather murky water with vis at about 3 to 4 meters.