A group of cameramen working for the BBC managed to film a bodyboarder in Monterey Bay, California, as he swam within just a few feet of four great white sharks, blissfully unaware of the situation in which he found himself.
The BBC’s Big Blue Live production team managed to capture the footage earlier this week, while seeking out great white sharks to film for a live broadcast on Thursday night. The cameramen were flying over Monterey Bay in a helicopter, as the Express notes, when they observed a male bodyboarder heading into the ocean, totally unaware that four juvenile great white sharks were swimming just a few feet away in the surf.
Though the crew were powerless to intervene in the situation, they were astonished to see that the sharks didn’t react the way that those familiar with their fearsome reputation might expect. Instead, as Big Blue Live producer Ben Harris observed, the white sharks swam away into the depths as soon as they perceived the bodyboarder nearby, as the Mirror reports.
“Juvenile sharks have an amazing perception of what’s around them. Great white sharks have a jelly-filled pores on their faces called electroreceptors. These sense electromagnetic fields which alert them to prey or danger. All living creatures produce an electrical field from muscle contraction which the shark senses.”
— California Diver Mag (@California_Dive) August 28, 2015
This summer has seen a notable increase in sightings of juvenile white sharks along the California coastline, particularly in populated areas like Monterey Bay. Earlier this year, a researcher was able to document as many as 15 young great whites, as well as one mature animal measuring roughly 18-feet-long, as they swam around a pier known as the Cement Ship, so named for the derelict hulk of the S.S. Palo Alto, which graces the beach. As Harris pointed out, warming water temperatures are thought to be responsible for the sharks’ odd behavior, as is the case on the East Coast as well.
“It’s an unusual year and very exciting time to be here, the water temperature is the warmest on record in the bay and we think this is why we are starting to see juvenile great white sharks this far north on the Californian coast as well as some of the other incredible wildlife spectacles we are witnessing.”
Though the BBC crew immediately reported their sighting to local authorities, it remains unknown whether the bodyboarder was contacted and informed of the great white sharks nearby.
[Photo via Ryan Pierse / Getty Images]