Sitting in a 3.8 meter sea kayak and watching a four meter great white approach you is a fairly tense experience.Although some have doubted its authenticity, the photograph is genuine. It was taken from the September 2005 issue of Africa Geographic. The article details a study of Great White Sharks in South Africa by biologists Michael C. Scholl and Thomas P. Peschak. Kayaks were used to study the sharks because, unlike the motorized research vessel, they could manoeuvre more easily in shallow or treacherous water and had no engine noise to disturb the sharks' natural behaviours. The authors explain more about the incident shown in the photograph:
Although we had extensively tested the sharks' reactions to an empty kayak and had observed no signs of aggression, this gave us little comfort as we eyed a great white heading straight for us, albeit slowly. Just a metre or so from the craft it veered off, circled and slowly approached from behind. It did this several times, occasionally lifting its head out of the water to get a better look. Then it lost interest, and as it continued on its way we were able to follow a short distance behind. Once we'd come to terms with having nothing between ourselves and a four-metre shark except a thin layer of plastic, our kayak made an ideal research platform for observing great white behaviour in shallow water.The article provides a very interesting insight into Great White Sharks and includes a number of other excellent photographs.
Last updated: 26th November 2009
First published: 18th January 2007
Write-up by Brett M.Christensen