A group of fishermen off the California coast caught their close encounter with a hammerhead shark on video after they baited the predator close and then jumped in the water to swim with it.
Four men were reportedly spearfishing for yellowtail near Anacapa Island early in October when they sighted the eight-foot-long hammerhead swimming near their boat.
“We just stumbled onto something that very, very few people, if anybody, has ever seen, and that’s a hammerhead at Anacapa Island,” said swimmer Forrest Galante.
— 10 News (@WTSP10News) November 11, 2014
According to KEYT, the men threw bait into the water to draw the shark closer before two of them, including Galante, decided to swim with the animal. Very quickly after entering the ocean, the swimmers realized that the hammerhead was aggressive as the shark attempted to bite them.
“Only when we hopped into the water was it really evident that he was fired up. He came straight in to the point we were pulling our fins in keeping our limbs close to our body,” Galante said.
After just a few minutes in the water with the shark, Galante and his friend returned to their boat.
Chris Lowe, a shark expert from California State Long Beach, noted that sightings and particularly attacks involving hammerhead sharks are rare. As WPTV reports, he cites a developing El Niño as a factor driving hammerhead sharks northward from Baja.
“When the water gets warm and it moves up into Southern California, a lot of times these animals track warmer water and follow prey that come with warmer water,” he said.
— WPEC CBS 12 News (@CBS12) November 11, 2014
Last year, a new species of hammerhead shark was discovered by researchers at the University of South Carolina. As the Inquisitr noted, the scientists asserted that the species had eluded discovery due to the fact that outwardly, it is nearly indistinguishable from the more common scalloped hammerhead. Ten fewer vertebrae in its spine marked the defining morphological difference that set the species apart from other hammerheads.
Despite his close encounter with the hammerhead, Galante says that he’s dived with sharks before and will not hesitate to do so again.
[Image via Huffington Post]