Ever wonder what it would be like to fend off a shark? Wonder no more.
Diver Jason Dimitri captured this frightful encounter with a Caribbean reef shark while diving in the western Caribbean Sea last week.
In a comment posted along with the video, Dimitri says he was near 70 feet deep at the time, in pursuit of lionfish, a venomous fish that's considered a highly invasive species in the area. The shark first approached him immediately after he speared a lionfish, and it proceeded to circle and charge Dimitri as he cautiously ascended back to the surface.
Remarkably, the diver appears to have kept his calm throughout most of the incident, and he responded to the threat exactly as experts recommend.
"I want to make it clear that I am hunting lionfish to help protect the reef from the destruction that they cause," Dimitri writes in the video description. "The shark was acting in his natural environment. I have no ill will toward him and will get back in the water and continue to protect the reef for future generations. I would strongly encourage anyone out there to donate to REEF.org or other organizations to help protect our reefs, [s]harks and the beautiful creatures in them."
UPDATE: March 24 -- In an email to The Huffington Post, George Burgess, the director of shark research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, commented on the shark's behavior and the diver's response:
Reef sharks, like other reef critters, are opportunists that must take advantage of available opportunities. So this type of aggression usually is associated with spearfishing and indeed we consider this type of incident a provoked attack - the provocation being the unnatural spearing of the fish.
The diver reacted appropriately, poking at its nose while ascending cautiously. Not sure if the diver stowed the speared fish or released it but the latter is the way to go. The shark usually eats the freebie allowing the diver to retreat with pride and body intact.
WATCH Dimitri fend off the shark attack, above.
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