A scientist hoping to capture footage of a great white shark off Cape Cod, Mass., was startled by a large shark that breached directly beneath him as he stood on the research vessel’s bowsprit.
“Did you see that! Did you see that!” Greg Skomal, a state biologist, exclaims in the video. “It came right up, and opened its mouth right at my feet.”
The surprise breach occurred beneath an extended bow sprit – the type used by harpoon fishermen – as Skomal stood with a pole camera intending to capture footage for identifying purposes.
Skomal is studying great white sharks, as they hunt for seals, as part of a collaborative research effort involving the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.
It’s not clear why the shark breached or whether this was a type of attack behavior.
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy posted the video to Facebook on Monday morning with the description:
“While out on research trips, we’ve seen white sharks breach and we’ve received multiple reports of breaching white sharks this year from fishermen and boaters. While encounters like this one are rare, this video shows that they’re certainly possible.
“White sharks are wild and unpredictable animals. This is a good reminder of the importance of not becoming complacent and always staying vigilant when in or on the water.”