Sunday, November 7, 2010

Incredible pictures of great white sharks taken by a diver with only a broomstick for protection

Serene: A Great White Shark approaches the camera of diver Amos Nachoum of the coast of Mexico

Menacingly circling just a few feet away from unprotected divers these great white sharks are known as the most curious in the world.

Intrigued by the movement of these divers swimming in and out of cages 40ft under the water, the 14ft-long great whites even get close enough for intimate mug shots to be taken.

The great whites of Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico have gained a reputation as some of the most relaxed on Earth and offer brave divers like two-time BBC Wildlife of the Year photographer Amos Nachoum the chance to get up close and personal with the huge predators - his only protection against the sharks is a broomstick.

Brave: Amos uses a broomstick to push the sharks away if they get too close

The sharks were spotted last month as they made a migration to feed on elephant bull seals that congregate on Guadalupe at this time of year.

'Of course they are wild and unpredictable animals, but I have 45 years of diving experience to call upon to understand the movements and behaviour of these graceful creatures,' said Amos, 60.

'We use some small fish dangling from cages and allow their natural curiosity to take over. If you behave correctly In the water the sharks will only be interested to see only what you are doing.

They will come to within feet of myself out in the open water or close to a cage and then they will simply swim off.'

As the owner of Big Animal Photographic Expeditions, ex-Israeli special-forces member Amos takes paying members of the public to interact face to face with great whites.

'Great white sharks are one of nature's misunderstood creatures,' he explained.

'The great whites are not approachable': Amos insists his clients treat the predators with respect

A Great White Shark approaches the camera of Amos Nachoum

Operating adventure trips to see the planet's most spectacular animals since 1990, Amos has a 100 percent safety record in the water and most importantly with his customers and friends.

'During my latest expedition I took a group of 11 customers to observe the sharks in their natural habitat,' he explained.

'We would make up to five dives a day for a week, each one lasting up to one hour. Over the course of that week 15 different sharks came to see us and according to my own rules we would never continue an encounter when more than three sharks arrived.

'The aim of these expeditions is to show my clients that great whites are not the ferocious snarling creatures that we see in movies or in some documentaries.'

Close encounter: The wealthiest and most curious tourists can dive outside of the cage, perilously close to the sharks

Deadly: While the great whites of Guadelupe Island are typically relaxed, they could kill in an instant

Amos' clients pay £3,700 to travel on a privately chartered boat 150 miles off the coast of Mexico to Guadalupe.

'That enables them to go down 40 foot inside the cage as many times as they want,' said Amos.

'However for another £2,200 my clients can leave the cage and dive with me. Not all of the customers who come with me will be allowed to do this.

'I choose and me and my assistant Fernando only allow one person at one time to leave the cage under our supervision.

"They will never be as experienced as me and so I can not deal with more than one person. If you go near these creatures without proper guidance, then it is fair to say that you will get eaten.'

'We should all realise that the danger is in your mind': Amos has a 100 per cent safety record on his shark expeditions

Trained by South African white shark expert Andre Hartmann in the 1990's, Amos is still stunned by the reaction of first time customers to his great white excursions.

'They have this look in their eye afterwards,' says Andre who has been diving since he was 14 and a photographer since he was 12.

Each customer must sign a legal disclaimer that in turn must be signed by the legal representative of the client.

'They have to exhibit a full awareness of what they are asking me to do with them,' says Amos.

'They must realise that I only have a broomstick to push the shark away. I do not carry a spear gun. It wouldn't help in an attack anyway.'

In addition to his incredible great white excursions Amos also takes clients round the world to encounter other big animals such as humpback whales and leopard seals.

'These high end holiday's enable me to indulge my photography and love of these giant creatures in the wild.'

source: dailymail

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