Rare: Great White Shark Appears Off Florida Keys [Video]

Making a rare appearance in the Florida Keys, a large great white shark estimated to be between 10 and 12 feet in length was seen by people on board a chartered boat on Saturday. According to the Miami Herald, the great white shark was seen on Alligator Reef off Islamorada on Saturday evening. The shark reportedly circled a chartered snorkeling boat for about 30 to 45 minutes before swimming away.

According to Captain Chris Muller, who was in charge of the snorkelling excursion, he was accompanied by First Mate Greg Schlosser along with a group of foreign exchange students near Alligator Reef in the Florida Keys. The group was prepared to see the usual sightings in the area which include turtles, stingrays, and other tropical reef fish. The last thing on their minds was a shark – and in this case, a great white shark which is rarely found in this area during this time of the year.

Muller said that the shark was swimming in shallow waters, nearly 15-feet deep. The large fish then circled around the vessel named HappyCat for several minutes. He was also able to grab a video footage of the event. The footage was later uploaded to YouTube where it is now gradually gaining popularity. Muller’s friend was so excited upon seeing the shark that he got into the water to shoot the video as the great white shark swam by his boat.

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Muller later told the Miami Herald the following.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life, especially not in the Keys, and I’ve swam with a lot of sharks.”

Muller added that there were 23 students in the boat, most of whom were exchange students who originally belonged to countries like Thailand and South Korea. He said that several of his customers were in the water when the shark was first seen by his mate Greg Schlosser who was watching over the swimmers as Muller was away. A few minutes later, Schlosser came into the wheelhouse and said there was a great white in the water. Muller could not believe his ears.

“I said, ‘there’s no white out there.”

But sure enough, after taking a look at the animal, it was evident that it was a large shark – a great white shark. Once it was confirmed that there was a great white shark in the waters, the first priority was to get the customers back onboard the boat. Many of the students freaked out upon hearing about the shark, but after they were safe on the boat, they were excited to see the top predator swim around the boat. It was after this that Schlosser decided to jump into the water to shoot a video. He also wanted to be sure that the shark was indeed a great white.

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Talking about his customers, Muller added the following.

“They had a good time and weren’t afraid to go back in the water. The shark didn’t follow us. He stayed on the deeper, southern end of the reef.”

A comment on the video posted on YouTube makes it evident how rare great white sharks are in the Florida Keys.

“I lived on Islamorada for a year, and my landlord took me out to ‘the Alligator’ in his skiff many times. It’s a popular snorkeling/diving haven because of the stunning living reef. I’ve even caught sharks there (fishing boats have to be clear of the protected zone), but I admit I’ve never seen a great white. I can imagine all the diving charters reeling in their customers as fast as they can after this fish was spotted.”

[Image via Elias Levy |Flickr | Cropped and resized | CC BY 2.0]