From the Department of Awesome Animal Encounters come these intense photos taken by diver and underwater photographer Daniel Botelho, who has made it his goal to demonstrate that great white sharks are not the man-eaters that everyone assumes them to be. Not only that, he says that it is possible to safely dive around the incredible creatures outside of a safety cage. Amazing? Yes. Misguided? Possibly. Whatever you think of it, the photos, in which divers are hanging out with an 18-foot-long female great white shark, are literally quite awesome. In the top photo one of the divers even appears to be touching the shark’s right pectoral fin.
Thus far Daniel Botelho has logged 24-hours of diving time outside of a cage in the presence of great white sharks and insists that he has never been bitten:
“The movie Jaws created an over-reaction which led to sharks becoming misunderstood,” said Daniel. “They are predators for sure, mostly attacking by ambush, but they are not man-killers. I’ve been in the water during 24 logged-hours diving out of the cage and no shark came to me thinking I was snack. Through my pictures I wanted to show people that it’s possible to dive safely with great white sharks.”
Daniel acknowledges that great white sharks are indeed top-predators, but says they very rarely regard humans as food:
“He explained the key to safely diving with this notorious shark was to remain relaxed, keep eye-contact with the shark and hold one’s ground no matter how close the shark swims to the diver.”
We don’t know about you, but this story reminds us strongly of ill-fated bear-lover Timothy Treadwell, about whom the documentary Grizzly Man was made by Werner Herzog. Let’s hope Daniel doesn’t suffer a similar fate. We think sharks are truly awesome, but we also prefer to give them plenty of personal space in their watery domain, so then no one has to worry about holding their respective ground. The only time we’re actually prepared to get really close to a shark is while we’re drinking our morning coffee.