A group of fishermen recently recorded their close encounter with a great white shark at a well-traveled spot off the coast of New Zealand, documenting the scene as one of their number reached out and touched the massive predator.
Whangarei man Hamish Clarke captured footage of the white shark as it approached his boat near Frenchman Island, located close to the local harbor entrance. The area is popular with anglers and divers, and is located near a number of scallop beds. Clarke and his group had set out to fish for bait for an upcoming competition, and were startled when the great white appeared and approached their 5.7-meter-long vessel.
— nzherald (@nzherald) February 21, 2016
The great white shark measured roughly 3.5-meters-long, an average size for a male of the species according to Department of Conservation shark expert Clinton Duffy. As the New Zealand Herald points out, the excited anglers managed to record the shark as it circled their vessel, before it nosed the motor. Such behavior, while not fully explained, has been commonly observed in other white sharks, as the Inquisitr previously noted.
One of the young men aboard Clarke’s boat was able to stretch out his hand and touch the white shark as it glided past, saying that the event “made his day.” Another of his fellow occupants aboard the boat offered a warning in response, telling him to be wary of losing his hand to the shark. After circling for a time, the shark eventually disappeared from view with a splash, descending into the depths near the vessel’s stern, as UPI reports.
Clarke said that he wasn’t afraid of the shark, due largely to the difference in size between the animal and his boat. He was taken aback, however, by the location where the shark was seen. That particular spot is one that Clarke himself has frequented in the past as a free diver. The fact that a great white shark was in the exact same area was unnerving, as he acknowledged.
“It was a bit scary knowing the shark was exactly where we were.”
The king of the ocean – The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) pic.twitter.com/nhwD28MlRB
— Devon Massyn (@devonmassyn) February 26, 2016
Mr. Duffy, meanwhile, expressed his excitement to have a confirmed sighting of a white shark near the Whangarei Harbor. Pointing out that it is perfectly normal behavior for a great white to examine objects at the surface, Duffy said that such reports are “always exciting.”
“I would have loved to have seen underwater footage of it because I keep a database of them identified from their color pattern and the shape of the dorsal fin….I’ve had about half a dozen reports of sightings of great whites off Whangarei Heads and never doubted them but it’s quite nice to have it confirmed.”
Great White Shark pic.twitter.com/qMv9ymrtp3
— Amazing Nature (@AMAZlNG_NATURE) February 10, 2016
He further theorized that the shark may have smelled burley from the boat, leading the predator to investigate the anglers. Even without that attractant however, the shark’s behavior was hardly out of the ordinary, he asserted.
Duffy also pointed out that the great white shark is a protected species, and as such should not be maligned by bystanders. He advised people who come in contact with one of the animals to show the appropriate amount of respect, and admonished them to avoid potentially dangerous stunts in order to be photographed with a shark.
Noting that the animal observed by Clarke and his peers appeared to be entirely un-aggressive and calm, Duffy said that conducting oneself properly around a great white shark is largely a matter of “common sense.”