On January 15, 2019, divers from One Ocean Diving and Research made a newsworthy discovery: the largest great white shark ever recorded. So, what did they do next? They swam next to her, of course.
The Associated Press reports that Ocean Ramsey and Juan Oliphant were diving off the coast of Oahu in Hawaii when they spotted the shark, along with multiple tiger sharks. The predators were attracted to the carcass of a dead sperm whale.
Based on the great white shark’s distinctive size and markings, they believe the predator is a well-known individual known as “Deep Blue.” However, this hasn’t yet been confirmed.
The great white shark is estimated to be 6.1 to 6.4 meters (20 to 21 feet) long, from nose to tail. Ramsey suspects the creature is pregnant due to her astonishing width. She told The Star-Advertiser, “I’m without words; it’s heartwarming; she’s probably the most gentle great white I’ve ever seen.”
Movies like Jaws have perpetuated a negative stigma about the ocean mammal. That’s why Oliphant and Ramsey swam next to the giant creature: to showcase how gentle sharks can be — especially great whites.
Oliphant wrote in an Instagram post: “I try hard to replace fear with scientific facts and encourage a healthy level of respect for sharks as #ApexPredatorsNotMonsters but not puppies… They are sharks and I love and respect them for what they are.”
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Words and photo by co-founder @juansharks using @aquatech_imagingsolutions ・・・ PERSPECTIVE ❤️ Deep Blue going straight to @oceanramsey If you are ever approached by a large shark, this is how you want to respond to it, swim away from it slowly to give the shark space in case it is being territorial and always keep eye contact, never turn away and act like prey. So much more that needs to be applied for diving with sharks safely, to #coexist Ocean wrote a nice disclaimer for people wanting to just jump in the water with a shark like Deep Blue. Disclaimer: I highly discourage people from jumping into the water purposely with Great #WhiteSharks and TigerSharks and all sharks should be given respect as space as wild animals and PROTECTION from wasteful killing for their important ecological role. I work daily in the water with sharks as a shark biologist and teach public and professional safety programs through @OneoceanResearch and @OneOceanDiving and through a number of our international projects which also includes #greatWhiteShark research specifically. I try hard to replace fear with scientific facts and encourage a healthy level of respect for sharks as #apexPredatorsNotMonsters but not puppies…but not monsters. They are sharks and I love and respect them for what they are. Yes I absolutely LOVE sharks and have a deep understanding and respect for their capabilities combined with well over a decade of full time experience working in-water with them. My life mission, passion, and I think purpose is to help further conservation efforts for them through research, conservation, design, and immersive and impactful programs and outreach. Please check out all the divisions of #OneOceanDiving listed below for more information and please help us to ban #sharkfinning #sharkfishing #sharksportfishing and #sharkculling around the world. I just found out the the bill to ban the purposeful killing of sharks and rays in Hawaii will be re-introduced this year in both eh house and senate following all the positive shark press that has come from this incredible encounter in the last few days. Mahalo nui loa (thank you) to all those who support efforts for shark conservation
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#Jaws was a fictitious film whose poster kind of looks like this, so this is my effort at an Anti-Jaws type media piece @savingjawsmovie . I’ve been swimming with sharks my whole life and working professionally with them for over 15 years. There’s a challenge I have in my efforts, to find a balance between helping people to overcome their fear of sharks that often stems for fictitious demonizing media and instilling a healthy level of respect for sharks as very capable apex predators #ApexPredatorNotMonster not puppy (cause if you pet puppies often even puppies bite, actually a lot ;)). Having worked with sharks for so long I can fully appreciate what they are capable of because I have been rushed by sharks and had to deter them and I have had to leave the water and I have watched them actively predate and compete for space and have confrontations. However, I’ve also had the most incredible moments of my life in the water with them where 99.9% of the time they cruise gracefully around and so long as I keep looking around and pay attention constantly and quietly and give respect and attention to the more dominant individuals and challenging juveniles on a CONSTANT bases I am treated as more or less an equal predator. Never complacent, always respectful and adapting at every second to every movement. I reached the point long ago where I dedicated my life to conservation and I love it, I love educating people about sharks and introducing them to them in a professional guided situation through the program I co-founded @oneoceandiving where we also collect data @oneoceanresearch @oneoceansharks and help support conservation through @Oneoceanconservation and @OneoceanEducation and @Oneoceanglobal @Waterinspired @oneoceanhawaii and other with funds from @oneoceandesigns and diving I love studying shark behavior and body language and its an absolute pleasure to share that with people and help them to better appreciate sharks and I hope inspire them to help save them. Check out http://HelpSaveSharks.Org for more ways to get involved. #Aloha #hawaii #greatWhiteHawaii #SaveTheOcean #ocean #discoversharks #oneoceanconservation #OneOceanDiving PHOTO CREDIT @juansharks ❤️
Though you might disagree with Oliphant, he is correct. In any given average year, around five fatalities from sharks occur worldwide. Meanwhile, humans kill approximately 100 million to 273 million sharks every year. In fact, you are more likely to be killed by falling coconuts than by a shark.
Of course, the predators are still dangerous. So, if you ever encounter one while diving, be sure to follow Oliphant’s advice:
“If you are ever approached by a large shark, this is how you want to respond to it, swim away from it slowly to give the shark space in case it is being territorial and always keep eye contact, never turn away and act like prey.”
What are your thoughts?