One of the largest Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) on record was spotted offshore of Oahu, Hawaii. When shark expert and world-renowned marine biologist and conservationist Ocean Ramsey and her team from One Ocean Diving spotted the shark, they did what many people fear more than death itself—jump in the water. Here is a first-hand description of the experience from the marine biologist and her team of experts. As a disclaimer, we recommend not trying this for yourself, as Ramsey and her team are experts on shark behavior and skilled scientists.
“Today (Jan 15th) was extremely special because while I (Ocean Ramsey) work with (great) white sharks all around the world, they are extremely rare in Hawaii and this individual may be one of the largest recorded and shows similar markings to “Deep Blue,” a shark I’ve studied in Isla Guadalupe, Mexico where I’ve done most of my work with white sharks.”
“This gentle giant swam up and brushed up against our boat repeatedly. There is a theory that large females come here when they are possibly pregnant trailing whales. There was a dead sperm whale in the area and we did observe her from a distance swimming over to it and eating it on a regular basis throughout the day.”
“Sharks’ role in the ecosystem, to pick off the dead, dying, weak, wounded, sick, injured, etc. thereby keeping lower trophic levels healthy and in balance. I have so much respect for sharks for their ecological role, scientifically, culturally in Hawaii as aumakua, and from a conservation standpoint, I’ve dedicated my life to speaking up for them and educating others about them and their plight while studying to continue to understand more about them.”
Ocean and the team at One Ocean Diving say you can #HelpSaveSharks and #SaveTheOcean by reducing your use of single-use plastics, speaking up for those without a voice, voting to protect sharks and voting with your dollar by supporting eco-friendly options.
“We hope these images and videos will spark a movement for more laws to protect sharks here in Hawaii and around the world.”
According to One Ocean Diving, “Shark populations around Hawaii are unfortunately declining and there are currently no laws to protect sharks from being killed for any reason other than banning killing only for their fins and even that law has many loopholes and hasn’t been upheld.”
A dead humpback whale was floating nearby which is a likely reason this white shark was in the area. Accompanied by her entourage (two rough-toothed dolphins), this white shark stuck around for most of the day, allowing One Ocean Research to capture photos and videos that change the reputation of sharks as the world knows it.
This 20-feet-wide and eight-foot-long apex predator offered this research team a once-in-a-lifetime experience while simultaneously providing footage that hopefully changes how humans interact with sharks, namely by raising awareness to end the sale of shark fin soup (shark meat is poisonous to humans), shark finning and shark fishing.
As Ocean states on her 700k+ followed Instagram page, “Sharks need your help now, they are being killed every day at a rate of 70,000,000-100,000,000 per year. Please help ban the import and export of fins and shark fishing in your state and country. Georgia is the largest importer and exporter of fins in the USA. Florida has yet to ban the sale and possession. Spain and Indonesia are some of the largest exporters in the world. Don’t support longline-caught seafood because the #bycatch is sharks, dolphins, whales, turtles, seabirds, etc. Speak up for those without a voice and focus on the real problems and issues facing sharks and the ocean if you really care. PS-Thank you to all the wonderful and amazing people out there who have been so supportive and sending messages in support.”
In regards to what One Ocean Diving does, a press release from them states: “We (@OneOceanDiving research team) study shark behavior and we teach people how to avoid adverse interactions. Our research and work aims to help reduce shark-related fatalities and educate others on the importance of sharks. We have a program that runs daily off Oahu to take people out to teach them about sharks and how to avoid a bite as well as their current conservation plight while we gather shark research data on behavior and abundance and specific individuals. The program is open to the public.”
Feeling intrigued or maybe a tad bit insane? Experience swimming with sharks for yourself without the use of a cage in Oahu, Hawaii with One Ocean Diving. Their educational experiences teach you the importance of sharks, how to stay safe if you have an encounter and how to join the fight to #helpsavesharks.
To learn more, visit HelpSaveSharks.Org, OneOceanConservation.Org or OneOceanDiving.com. Don’t forget to follow the One Ocean team on Instagram: @oceanramsey, @OneOceanDiving, @OneOceanResearch, @JuanSharks, @Mermaid_Kayleigh, @Forrest_in_focus and @camgrantphotography.
All information on encounter and sharks was taken from One Ocean Diving, Ocean Ramsey and related websites/Instagram accounts.