Thursday, December 23, 2010

Say cheese! Breathtaking pictures snapped by daredevil divers swimming with great white sharks


Close for comfort: This breathtaking snap was taken 40 feet beneath the surface off Guadalupe near Mexico. Clients pay more than £3,700 for the opportunity to dive with two-time BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Ominously circling just feet away from divers with no more protection than a wooden stick, these great white sharks are known as the most curious in the world.

Intrigued by the brazen behaviour of the rubber-suited invaders moving in and out of cages 40ft underwater, the massive beasts even get close enough for intimate portrait shots to be taken.

Attracted only by the sound of the metal clunk of the protective cages and the breathing apparatus on the divers, the great whites of Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico have gained a reputation as some of the most relaxed on Earth.

Different approach: Organiser Amos Nachoum use some small fish dangling from cages to allow the great white's natural curiosity to take over

So much so, that experienced divers have the confidence to swim alongside them and observe them in their natural habitat as they migrate 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 Nachoum, 60, who photographed these remarkable scenes earlier this month.

'We don't throw in bloody chump into the water, we use some small fish dangling from cages and allow their natural curiosity to take over.

Deep blue: The sharks from the surrounding area are said to be some of the most relaxed on the planet

'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 Spielberg movies or in the National Geographic documentaries.'

Menacing: Amos has a 100 per cent safety rate but does make all his clients sign a disclaimer

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 would not help in the event of an attack.'

source: dailymail

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