We all hope that there would be someone to save us if we were attacked by a group of sharks but we would never expect our rescuer to be another shark. That is exactly what happened to diver Emil, at the Aliwal Shoal which is a rocky reef around three miles off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
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Narrating the incredible footage, Emil explains how he was actually trying to help the sharks. He got a call telling him that there was a whale carcass floating toward the bay with a lot of sharks feeding from it. There are a lot of shark nets in the bay, so many of them could have ended up getting caught up in the nets. To prevent this, he devised a plan to anchor the whale in that location so that it could not drift any closer toward the land. To do this, he needed to secure a rope around its tail and this meant getting into the water – with the sharks!
The area around the whale was full of tiger sharks and great whites. Tiger sharks are the second largest predatory shark. They have leopard-like markings on their skin so they are sometimes called the leopard shark and, more worryingly for Emil, they are also called the maneater shark. They live in tropical waters but migrate with the seasons. These sharks prey on squid, dolphins, clams, and sea birds. They also eat a lot of human junk that gets washed into the sea including plastics. Tiger sharks WILL mistake humans for prey and that makes them dangerous – especially when they are hungry.
The great white is the ocean’s largest predatory shark and has around 300 serrated teeth! Great whites are also known to attack humans.
Emil secured the rope successfully but then decided to re-enter the water to do some filming – it was at this point things started to go wrong. At least four dusky sharks started trying to bite him. Suddenly, they backed off and he couldn’t understand why – only to turn around and find a four-meter-long great white swimming past. His rescuer! Great whites eat dusky sharks, so these guys had obviously decided not to hang around.
Emil learned some valuable lessons from this dive that he shares with us. The first is that when you are diving next to a source of food for the sharks (in this case it was the carcass of a whale) stay near it! The sharks close to the food source already have something to eat and are quite full so they are not so likely to be interested in you. The sharks waiting some distance from the food are very hungry and are having to wait their turn to feed. You look like a tasty first course to them!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alessandro De Maddalena/Shutterstock.com
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