Incredible footage released Wednesday showed a great white shark baring its teeth as it lunged at bait hanging off a tour boat in Mossel Bay, South Africa, just six feet away from an underwater videographer filming with a GoPro camera.
“I feel a sense of excitement every time I see a great white shark,” English videographer and dive crew member Mark Graham told British press agency Media Drum World. “The sharks come right up to the boat, often investigating people in the cage in a curious manner figuring out what they are.
“This particular shark was maybe six-to-nine-feet from the boat,” he added.
Graham captured his footage from an underwater cage, along with footage taken from on board the boat, while out on a shark tour and dive with guests eager to get up close and personal to some of the world’s most feared predators.
However, the videographer is passionate about these underwater creatures and works hard to change people’s misguided perceptions when it comes to sharks.
“I think humans have an instinctive fear of what they can’t see and don’t understand,” he said. “I think the mainstream media has a big part to play in perpetuating and exaggerating negative stories about shark encounters. I don’t think the reputation is justified.”
Graham pointed out that each year more and more people enter the ocean, and in 2022, there were only five fatal shark attacks.
“Whilst humans kill over 11,000 sharks an hour,” he explained. “Sharks are just sharks, they’re animals they’re not monsters, learn to appreciate them for what they are, not what you think they are.
“If you get the chance to see them in the wild go and see them, I guarantee your perception will change,” he added.
Though Graham has been on many shark dives and tours, he said this encounter was different, noting that great white sharks are usually tentative and slow to approach the boat.
The experienced diver was excited to see not only the shark go after the bait in such a ferocious manner, but noted that four other great white sharks came up to the cage and circled the boat without being prompted by bait or chum.
The sharks opened their jaws and came withing six feet of the cage to investigate, curious about the encounter.
“It was incredibly exciting,” Graham reportedly said, noting that none of the guests felt scared, and even those weary about entering the water eventually got into the cage to experience the sharks underwater.
“Great white sharks more often than not are extremely slow and curious staying just below the surface investigating the boat and the cage,” Graham explained. “So when we do have active days, where the great whites show how effective they are as predators breaching out of the water and lunging for the bait, it is amazing to see.”