A scuba diver filming on one of North Carolina’s popular shipwrecks had a close encounter with a sand tiger shark and it was caught on video.
The 17-second clip starts with the Virginia diver filming a colorful school of small jacks and bass, but then turns surprising when the camera pans to the left.
There, a 10 to 12-foot shark is seen “sneaking up” and is with in about two feet, its teeth exposed.
“I was quite startled to see him so close,” said scuba diver Shelley Collett, of Stanardsville, Virginia.
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“I truly didn’t know he was right there until I turned with the camera. I had only caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. That was the second time that same shark (recognized by the mark on his face) sneaked up on me like that on that same dive.”
Collett didn’t move and the shark is seen in the video diverting course just before reaching her.
The video, which has gotten 23,000 views, was taken in mid August with a Paralenz camera, at a depth of about 110-feet, Collett said.
The shipwreck, known as the Aeolus, was scuttled off N.C. in 1988, as part of the state’s artificial reef program. Known as an “attack cargo ship,” the ship dates to 1945, according to NC-Wreckdiving.com.
Sharks are common on North Carolina shipwrecks, said Collett, so she says she was expecting to see some --- she just didn’t expect them to be quite so stealthy.
“Most divers seek out sharks,” she said. “We want to see them, not only because they’re amazing, graceful and beautiful, but because the presence of sharks is evidence of a healthy marine ecosystem.”
Collett works for Scuba Diver Life, which has featured a handful of underwater videos filmed off North Carolina in recent weeks on its Facebook page.
“There are often schools of those small fish surrounding the sharks. I guess they think no other fish will mess with them if they’re swimming alongside a shark,” Collett says.