Sunday, October 26, 2008

Family gets a close encounter with a large Great White shark

A FAMILY stalked in their boat by a great white shark off Adelaide yesterday say they feared for swimmers at a nearby beach.

The massive shark - one witness said it was longer than 5m - was seen as close as 1km from the West Lakes Shore beach by boaties aboard at least three vessels between 8.30am and 11.30am yesterday.

Surf Life Saving SA was alerted and water police monitored its movements.

Aldgate mum Melinda Barnard was aboard an aluminium boat about 4km offshore with her father, Ian Westley, and sons Max, 6, and Eli, 4, when they spotted the huge shark approaching the vessel around 11.15am.

Ms Barnard, 35, said the shark was about as big as the 5m boat she was in.

"He had a nibble of the outboard motor and then nudged the boat before circling us for about 15 minutes," she said.

"It was like something out of Jaws . I made eye contact as it raised its head out of the water just near the bow of the boat. It was scary because it was like he was sizing me up.

"I guess you get a bit paranoid, because I kept the boys in the middle of the boat in case it leapt out of the water. I looked back to the beach and saw all these swimmers and I knew the shark was looking for a feed. . . "

Kerryn Manuel, 33, saw the shark from his boat about 8.30am when 2.4km offshore.

"It was huge, as big as Jaws, and I was shaking because it was so scary," the Royal Park resident said.

"It was a big white pointer which could have easily swallowed a person whole - my boat is 5.75m in length and this thing looked even longer."

Also on board the boat was Mr Manuel's son, Clayton, 7, and fishing mate Les Cook.

Clayton said he would certainly have a tale to tell his mates at school tomorrow. "I was scared," he said, "but not as much as dad."

Police reported another sighting of a large shark, possibly the same one, about 1km off West Lakes Shore beach about 8.30am.

Surf Life Saving SA state manager Shane Daw said reports of sharks the size of yesterday's were uncommon.

"Sharks are attracted to bait and blood, and they are also inquisitive creatures who will nudge a boat," he said.

He said helicopter patrols of the metropolitan foreshore would begin on November 1.

Five people have been taken by sharks in SAn waters since 2000. Dr Rachel Robbins, from the Rodney Fox Research Foundation, confirmed from pictures that the shark was a great white."Six metres is about the size limit for this species but even if it is 5m that is still a big shark," she said.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Man survives Great White shark attack off Croatian Coast

A spearfisherman survived a bite by a massive 20ft Great White Shark as he swam off the Croatian coast with pals.The 500lb monster took a piece out of 43-year-old Damjan Pecek's leg as he swam underwater near the remote Adriatic island Vis.

Doctors later pulled two huge shark teeth from the diver's calf.The first his friends knew of the encounter was when their pal surfaced in a pool of his own blood screaming "Great White. Oh God it's a Great White. Help me. Help me. Get me out."

The incident happened just 20 feet from the shore in the island's Smokova bay, a popular spot with tourists.After getting him ashore, Damjan's pals radioed for an ambulance. The diver is now in hospital in Split where doctors are treating the wounds to his leg.

The attack is one of a growing number of incidents in European and British waters involving Great Whites, which normally prefer warmer waters off Australia and South Africa.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saving the Great White shark

South Africa is the first country to give protection to one of the ocean's ferocious predators, the great white shark. The country is also leading a conservation research to ensure its survival.The Save our Seas Shark Center in Kalk Bay is conducting in-depth research into this mysterious, threatened creature.

Alison Kock, the project’s team leader says: “In some parts of the world, great white shark populations have decreased by up to 80%. South Africa is in such a valuable position to conserve the great white shark populations.”The great white is more accessible in South Africa than anywhere else on earth, and can be studied year-round.

Seventy-eight sharks have already been tagged, and are closely monitored.The research will provide important clues on how best to protect them. Researchers also hope to shatter the vicious myths surrounding them, and get the public involved in saving these invaluable oceanic giants.