The Big Blue Ocean Exploration

Seal balances on great white shark’s nose to escape jaws

Incredible photos show how close seal came to meeting its death in waters off Cape Town, South Africa, where great whites are known as 'Air Jaws'

Great White Shark Seal Sequence

Seal escapes jaws by balancing on great white shark’s nose; photo by David Jenkins copyrighted by Caters, used by permission

A seal escaped the deadly jaws of an attacking great white shark in waters off South Africa by balancing on the shark’s nose before dropping back into the water and swimming away.

The incredible images above and below were captured by photographer David Jenkins of Dublin, Ireland, while on a great white shark tour boat off Cape Town. They show just how close the seal came to meeting its death, as the white shark clearly missed its target while attacking from below, as white sharks are known to do. The shark appears to have pushed the seal up into the air with its snout as the seal held on before making its escape.

“The seals were making their way back to ‘Seal Island’ after feeding out at sea and the sharks travel below them,” Jenkins said, according to Yahoo! News UK. “The sharks are really well camouflaged due to their dark backs and when the seal looks down it is hard to make out the shark in the dark below.

“When the shark picks its time to attack, it can accelerate at around [25 miles per hour] upwards, which can send both the shark and the seal flying up out of the water.”

The resulting aerials are usually spectacular, and the reason great white sharks are known as “Air Jaws” around Seal Island in False Bay and area waters.

“The breaching sharks are amazing; the speed and agility just takes your breath away as they can explode from below without warning,” Jenkins said.

“This seal was one lucky pup.”

shark and seal

Lucky seal jumps off white shark’s nose and into the water to safety; photo by David Jenkins copyrighted by Caters, used by permission