Max Mironov was on a dive trip to Ascension Island last month hoping to spear large yellowfin tuna, and all 14 days in the water Galapagos sharks surrounded him and his companions.
Historically, Ascension Island hasn't been known to have a large population of Galapagos sharks, but this year they migrated to the area in huge numbers, Mironov told GrindTV in an email.
"When in the water with sharks, you have to establish that you're not food and establish that you are the alpha to them," Mironov said. "They will test you every time and get very aggressive.
"The tool developed specifically for this purpose and used by freedivers worldwide is a powerhead [aka a bang stick]. I prefer to push them away. Pushing a 12-foot, 1,000-pound Galapagos shark with a plastic paddle or wooden speargun doesn’t injure it or hurt it.
"When sharks would come in to check us out we would dive down and meet them face to face, and push them away. Once they realize you're not a threat and not dinner their behavior is calm and docile and they are beautiful to dive with."
Such was the case when Mironov decided to climb into a kayak and paddle from shore to be around the sharks while his buddies fed them chunks of fish from a nearby concrete dock.
"The sharks quickly and aggressively surrounded my kayak, and I spent a few minutes pushing the sharks away with the plastic kayak paddle," Mironov said. "After their aggression mellowed out, I was able to paddle around with them swimming calmly underneath me."
What you see in his Instagram video above is about 60 seconds of his 15-minute paddle in which he was compelled to send the sharks a similar message he his diving buddies sent daily underwater.
Mironov has already booked another trip to Ascension Island for next year.
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