Ocean Ramsey encounters 20-foot great white shark

January 17, 2019 | Environment
Ocean Ramsey: swimming with 'Deep Blue' | Photo: Juan Oliphant

A great white shark made a rare appearance Tuesday to feed off a dead sperm whale off Oahu's South Shore in Hawaii.

Professional freediver Ocean Ramsey spent a day swimming with a female shark she identified as "Deep Blue," one of the largest known great white sharks.

The magic yet dangerous moment was captured by Ramsey and professional photographer Juan Oliphant. The 20-foot predator even brushed up against the research boat.

"I waited quietly, patiently, observing as she swam up to the dead sperm whale carcass and then slowly to me. She passed close, and I gently put my hand out to maintain a small space so her girth could pass," explained Ramsey.

"I know some people criticize touch, but what some don't realize is that sometimes sharks seek touch. She swam away escorted by two rough-toothed dolphins who danced around her over to one of my shark research vessels and proceeded to use it as a scratching post."

Ban Shark Finning

Ocean Ramsey spent the entire day with "Deep Blue" until the sun went down. The diver has been trying to re-introduce in Hawaii the bill to ban the purposeful killing of sharks and rays.

"I wish more people would have a connection with sharks because then they would understand that it's not petting sharks or pushing them off to maintain a respectable space that is hurting them," notes Ramsey.

"It's the wasteful and cruel practice of grabbing and catching sharks to cut off their fins - which slowly kills them - for shark fin soup in a process called shark finning."

Great white sharks are a vulnerable species and are rarely seen in Hawaii.

Judging by the width and the hunger, "Deep Blue" could be pregnant. Some researchers also believe that pregnant great whites follow whales.

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