Thanks in large part to Jaws and the limits of the human mind, when most people see sharks, their brains go haywire with fear. Which, you know, despite their relatively docile nature, is fair enough, as they're giant swimming tooth torpedoes. And while I am personally a big fan of great whites, I don't imagine I'd relish meeting one out in the wild. Which is why this video of an Australian family meeting a 16-foot shark has me reconsidering the whole, you know, ocean thing.
A family of seven was fishing in their small boat off the coast of Port Victoria in South Australia (about two hours from Adelaide) when they noticed an enormous great white shark circling their boat, according to The Advertiser, an Adelaide-based paper. The giant predator circled for roughly 20 minutes, most likely due to the fact that they were fishing for whiting (a cod-like fish) and snapper.
Jodie Brown, who was one of seven family members aboard, told reporters, "It just swam up to the boat from behind and it was just circling us for about 20 minutes. It would just go round and come back again."
Duh-nuh. Duh-nuh. Duh-nuh, duh-nuh-dun-nuh.
Anyways, Brown said that, while they were still a little bit terrified, they were also in awe of the animal. I have literally had dreams about being stuck in an ocean kayak with a giant shark circling me, so I get it? Kind of??
Eventually, however, the Brown family left: “We had to leave in the end to take two girls back to shore because they were freaked out, but the whole time it was just amazing."
Check out the full, terrifying, three-minute video below:
Ha ha ha nope.
You know the feeling you get when you just have to run up your parents' creepy basement steps because you know a supernatural predator is right behind you? That's the feeling I got watching this video. But I also kind of wanted to be there, you know? Just a flirting-with-danger kind of thing.
Family members also told reporters on Sunrise, Australia's "most popular brekky show" — which I'm pretty sure is their version of The Today Show, oh Australia, you cheeky rascals — that it was both shocking and delightful to see the five-meter, or roughly 16-foot, long great white. (Meanwhile, the boat itself was only six meters long. Yeesh, no thank you.)
Gemma Brown, who was on the boat, said, "Once we were able to comprehend what was happening and what we were seeing, it was an incredible experience."
Shark are both very cool and very misunderstood, especially great whites thanks to Jaws and other scary shark-monster movies — looking at you, Sharknado series. And I'm sure the family of seven experienced some primal urge to run when they realized they were being circled by an enormous predator. Lizard brains and all that.
But the video is very cool, because it shows a chill shark just hanging out and checking what those sweet smells are.
Great whites are incredibly misunderstood, which has serious consequences. The apex predators, which can be 15-20 feet as females and 11-13 feet as males, are relatively docile around humans and, in fact, do not consider humans prey. But due in large part to the relative regularity of killer shark movies (among other pop culture misreporting around sharks, like the supposed ubiquity of shark attacks), they have been overhunted to the point that they are now considered a vulnerable species.
So seeing a 16-footer just chill and try to find some food is great for public relations or whatever. Which is great, but in the meantime, I will be planning my next vacation for somewhere remote and far, far away from the ocean. Mongolia, perhaps. Or the Czech Republic. You don't have sharks? See you next year!