— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) February 17, 2016
An Australian spearfisherman was unexpectedly head-butted by a grey nurse shark and a while later was forced to poke an approaching great white shark in the nose with his spear gun before alerting others and swimming to the safety of the boat.
Sam Tapp, a member of the Newcastle Neptunes Underwater Club, posted videos of the close encounters with the grey nurse shark and great white shark in an effort to educate fellow spearfishermen about working together and remaining vigilant in the water. Seven News recaps the moments in its report above.
Tapp was spearfishing for kingfish with his father and a friend, Ethan Sutton, off Edith Breakers in Seal Rocks, about three hours north of Sydney, when the scary moments occurred last weekend.
When a swarm of grey nurse sharks devoured a kingfish that one of the divers had speared, Tapp turned on his head camera. Soon after, he was surprised by a grey nurse shark that head-butted him.
He told the Newcastle Herald that he didn't see the shark coming, but the odd angle of the head camera captured the moment:
A little while later, a great white shark shows up.
“It was a pretty good-sized shark,” Tapp told the Herald. “You don't see it on the video, but I actually poke it on the nose. That's when it started swimming around us.”
The great white shark makes its brief appearance at around the 2:23 mark:
“If it wanted to give me an inquisitive little bite, you know, that's not a little bite from a puppy dog,” Tapp told 7 News.
Tapp immediately alerted others to “get in the boat, boys!” and started swimming toward the boat while attempting to keep an eye on the shark.
“It was really calm,” Tapp told the Herald. “I didn't think it was aggressive at all, just curious. I've been told they feel things with their mouths, but obviously an inquisitive little poke from him is pretty serious. It's not like Jaws, though.”
The whole point of the video, aimed at the spearfishing community, is to emphasize safety and looking out for your diving partners, Tapp said.
“I hope to highlight the importance of working together while diving, especially when larger fish are being targeted and individuals may start to focus on only what is in front of them rather than keeping an eye out for your mates,” he wrote in the video description.
Driving the point home is the fact Tapp's father was unaware of the great white shark's presence until he was in the boat.
“He didn't realize how close I had been [until watching the video],” Tapp said.
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