JAW-DROPPING photos captured by a fearless Brit photographer show a close encounter with a great white shark leaping from the water baring its incredible teeth.
Harry Stone, who lives near Bath, captured the ultra close-up pictures and spoke of how he wants to celebrate the massive ocean creatures – saying sharks aren’t the monsters many people think they are.
Incredible close ups show the great white shark bursting from beneath the wavesCredit: Mediadrumimages/HarryStone
Photos capture the great white glistening in the sunshine as it bursts from the waves flashing its huge teeth directly in front of Mr Stone.
Other snaps also show the beast getting up close to an underwater cage as its attempts to clamp its jaws around the bars.
Extreme close-ups taken off the coast of South Africa show the battle-hardened shark, its snout covered with scars from a life as the ocean’s top predator.
Mr Stone said: “Like many people I grew up with the movie Jaws, which started a lifelong fascination with sharks.
“I also had an Australian godmother who told me that the creature in the movie actually existed because they had them where she came from. I was hooked.”
He added: “I think being the largest predatory fish in the sea and having such a fearsome reputation made them endlessly interesting.
“When I grew up everyone thought white sharks were literally the scariest things on the planet, hardwired and sculpted by evolution to be the ultimate deadly predator.
“However, if you are lucky enough to spend time with them you realise that they do not deserve such infamy.”
The toothy grin of the ocean’s top predatorCredit: Mediadrumimages/HarryStone
Great white sharks are the largest predatory fish on Earth and can grow up to 20ft in length and weigh over 5,000lbs.
The sharks are notorious thanks to movies such as Jaws, but experts insist they are not mindless killers.
Scientists say great whites are actually very sensitive, intelligent creatures which have little interest in eating humans.
Despite their huge size, they are also listed as a vulnerable species due to overfishing and poor regulation.
Mr Stone said: “White sharks are extremely enigmatic.
“Even now there is so little known about them, which only adds to the fascination. But they are not mindless killers or out to get us.
The great white shark rises out of the waves towards the cameraCredit: Mediadrumimages/HarryStone
“They are certainly massive and magnificent predators, however they are also selective, intelligent, and usually only attack humans out of mistaken identity.
“We are not on their menu and the rarity of attacks illustrates how infrequently they make mistakes.”
He did however explain they are “unpredictable” and “potentially dangerous” if you are close to them, especially when leaning over the side of a boat to get such incredible images.
Mr Stone gave up a job in the legal profession ten-years-ago to pursue his passion for sharks, and now wants to focus on educating the public about the magnificent creatures.
He said: “As a species white sharks have been here for around 16 million years, and in a few decades, we have almost wiped them out.
“As an apex predator, the white shark serves vital functions in its environment, and as a flagship species it spotlights the pressing conservation issues facing our oceans.”
GREAT WHITE SHARK FACTS
Great White Sharks are the biggest predatory fish in the world – growing up to 20ft long and 5,000lbs
- Unconfirmed reports claim a 37ft great white was caught off White Head Island in Canada back in 1930
- The sharks’ mouths are lined with up to 300 serrated, triangular teeth arranged in several rows
- Great whites have an exceptional sense of smell to detect prey
- The animals have organs that can sense tiny electromagnetic fields generated by their prey
- Sea lions, seals, small toothed whales, sea turtles, and carrion are all on the menu
- Chances of humans dying due to a shark attack are slim at one in 3,700,000
He added: “I always tell people that white sharks aren’t what they think they are. The world thinks it knows this animal, but they are thinking of a horror movie monster, not the reality.
“The reality is not so frightening but infinitely more fascinating.”
The International Shark Attack File’s yearly report for 2019 recorded just five fatal shark attacks, and 105 bites.
And also enjoying a passion for sharks is daredevil photographer Andrea Kozlovic, who captured up close and personal images of blacktip sharks – also off the coast of South Africa.
Harry Stone said he wants to protect great white sharksCredit: Mediadrumimages/HarryStone
Ms Kozlovic travels the world documenting the predators, spending a month diving near Durban before the coronavirus outbreak which has put her work on hold.
She has undertaken more than 500 dives – many times swimming next to the sharks.
Ms Kozlovic said: “The water is my safe space. It’s where I feel at home.
“No matter how stressful things are down there, it’s just you and your breathing.”
Andrea admitted she has a special bond with these creatures, and feels totally at ease with sharks, using no protection such as cages.
Andrea Kozlovic takes a selfie as she swims with the sharksCredit: Andrea Kozlovic/Triangle News
She claims one of the sharks she met – named Amber – would come up to her every dive.
Andrea, from Canada, described the adrenaline rush you get while swimming with sharks, with one dive leaving her completely surrounded by the animals.
She said: “There was an endless steady stream of sharks coming in from as far as the eye could see.
“This was a special dive.
“I was shooting left, right and centre, above and below.
“There were moments when I just had to hold my camera and marvel at the water, the sharks, and the moment.”
“I am still trying to wrap my head around this incredible experience and it left me with an adrenaline rush that lasted all night.”
The blacktip shark looms into view for Andrea from the depthsCredit: Andrea Kozlovic/Triangle News
The adventurer however is now in isolation during an enforced coronavirus lockdown in her home city of Ontario.
She had been travelling between Canada, the Caribbean and South Africa for conservation work with the sea creatures.
She explained: “After a month living with family doing what I love – making a difference, watching incredible growth in myself and my work, now I’m stuck alone.
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“It’s going to be hard for quite some time.
“I cannot wait for the day that our borders open, our planes take off and I can hear my favourite skipper say my favourite words: ‘Three, two, one … go’.”
Meanwhile, 78-year-old Mike Bolton told of how he has been diving with tiger sharks for more than 60 years.
The blacktip shark strikes a pose as it stares into the cameraCredit: Andrea Kozlovic/Triangle News
Pensioner Mike Bolton, 78, dives with killer tiger sharks which he has done for over six decades