Discovery’s Shark Week has become synonymous with the search for massive great whites, and this year’s offering, Bride of Jaws, continues the trend as researchers seek out “Joan of Shark,” a specimen of staggering size.
Joan of Shark was first spotted off the coast of Australia in 2014, as Yahoo! News points out. Measured at roughly 16-feet-long during her repeat appearances that year, she was immediately acknowledged as a notably large white shark. At the time, Joan of Shark was the largest female great white ever to be tagged, yet she disappeared following the expiration of that tracking device.
Meet “Joan of Shark” the 16-foot long great white shark that weighs 1.8 tons. http://t.co/tEvHwt2dGf pic.twitter.com/QWtvrWrTBN
— Our Amazing Planet (@OAPlanet) April 17, 2014
Bride of Jaws sees researcher Andy Casagrande, along with shark attack survivors Paul de Gelder and Elyse Frankcom, attempting to locate Joan of Shark so that a satellite receiver can be placed on her fin, as Fox News reports. De Gelder, an ex-special forces diver, lost portions of several limbs to a bull shark which attacked him during a counter-terrorism training exercise in 2009. That incident took place in Sydney Harbor, an area where bull sharks have been caught in the past, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Frankcom, meanwhile, was attacked by a great white while leading a snorkeling tour in 2010, surviving wounds to her thighs.
During their search for Joan of Shark, the trio engaged in a variety of unusual techniques in order to attract the massive great white. De Gelder found himself in a red kayak in shark-infested waters, noting that the boat’s color made it unusually appealing to the sharks.
“Turns out that sharks like to bite big red kayaks and sink them,” he pointed out. “So that was a very short-lived experience, and I’m glad I didn’t get eaten again.”
— Brad Luck (@BradLuckNBC) April 16, 2014
Perhaps the most interesting moment of the show, however, comes as Casagrande is dangled over the side of the boat in a specially rigged harness, as if a piece of human bait on offer to the sharks below.
“So the producer was actually telling me, ‘Hey man, I’m a little worried you might fall in. What if we hook you up to this harness system?’ I’m like, ‘That sounds like I’m a human bait line. I don’t know if I like being strung up on a harness.’ He’s like, ‘Well, it will help you not fall in.’ I’m like, ‘I think you just want to dangle me over sharks to make this a little crazier.’ “
— Waitt Foundation (@WaittFdn) April 17, 2014
The hunt for Joan of Shark also sees the group cage diving off the Neptune Islands and descending to the wreck of the HMAS Perth, a sunken Australian warship. While in the rusted hulk of the ship, Casagrande and de Gelder spotted a great white, and though the moment seems tense in the show, the pair knew they had to be careful in their reactions, lest they trigger the shark’s predatory instincts.
“We were swimming quickly, but we also were not really splashing around because we didn’t want to act like an injured animal,” de Gelder recalled. “We were quick, but we were calm. As calm as you can be knowing that there’s a great white shark around. Once again, pee in the wetsuit. There’s a lot of peeing going on in the show.”
Bride of Jaws airs July 7 at 9 p.m. as Shark Week continues, detailing the trio’s efforts to once again tag Joan of Shark.
[Photo by Ryan Pierse / Getty Images]