One diver got a much closer look at a great white shark than he planned, thanks to the shark entering – then leaving – his shark cage.
While diving off Guadalupe Island in Mexico, photographer Buck Forester filmed large shark approaching the cage, which contained one surface-supplied diver. What happened next was completely unexpected.
Unlike California to the north, chumming for sharks (luring them with blood, bait, and other attractants) is legal in Mexico and many dive boats chum for sharks to get them closer to the boat and shark cage. In the video above, it appears that a deckhand pulled the bait (described as large chunks of tuna) towards the cage just as a large shark was approaching. Striking the bait with full force, the shark ran into the cage and broke a metal railing to enter it. A few moments later, the shark appears bloody and possibly injured as it swims out the top gate and escapes the cage. The single diver in the cage was unharmed.
Buck describes the event.
“On a recent great white shark cage diving trip we experienced a very rare event, a shark breaching the side of the cage. What might appear to be an aggressive great white shark trying to attack the cage, this is not the case. These awesome sharks are biting at large chunks of tuna tied to a rope. When a great white shark lunges and bites something, it is temporarily blinded. They also cannot swim backwards. So this shark lunged at the bait, accidentally hit the side of the cage, was most likely confused and not able to swim backwards, it thrust forward and broke the metal rail of the cage.
There was a single diver inside the cage. He ended up outside the bottom of the cage, looking down on two great white sharks. The diver is a very experienced dive instructor, remained calm, and when the shark thrashed back outside the cage, the diver calmly swam back up and climbed out completely uninjured. The boat crew did an outstanding job, lifting the top of the cage, analyzing the frenzied situation, and the shark was out after a few long seconds.
Everyone on the boat returned to the cages the next day, realizing this was a very rare event. The boat owner, captain, and crew are to be commended for making what could’ve been a tragic event into a happy ending. I’m sure God and luck had a bit to do with it too!”