Drones have become a popular tool for filmmakers, capturing sweeping shots of outdoor locations no matter how remote or inaccessible. Sometimes they also focus in the unexpected, like this spine-tingling encounter with a great white shark off Australia’s east coast. The image of a huge shark circling underneath the small fishing kayak will stick with viewers. It will also not soon be forgotten by the participants.
Great white shark spies a kayak
Matthew Smith was fishing for snapper about 1.5 kilometers off Black Head Beach near Tuncurry in the Australian state of New South Wales. Located about three-and-a-half hours north of Sydney, the area is a popular spot for kayak anglers. Smith’s friend piloted the drone overhead while other boats paddled nearby in the calm ocean waters.
Suddenly a 4-meter great white shark appeared and began to circle the kayak, eyeing its occupant and exhibiting interest in the boat’s sea anchor. The deck-mounted camera shows a shark fin looming behind Smith’s shoulder, seemingly near enough to reach out and grab. Instead, he wisely chose to sacrifice the anchor, untying it and watching as the shark sank back down out of view. “It almost nosed the back of my kayak!” he shouted in disbelief.
Interactions increase between humans and sharks
Smith was lucky, because 2020 marked the worst year for Australian shark fatalities in a decade. “I’m not dead,” he exclaims with a relieved grin as his brother paddles over to investigate the commotion. In the wise words of the news anchor, “Never has a fisherman been so relieved about the one that got away.”