Among the many things you'd prefer not to see when you peer into the deep, murky ocean beneath your feet: a great white shark, swimming up from the depths straight at you.
Grayson Shepard, a charter captain, encountered this great white shark while diving off the coast near Apalachicola, Florida, earlier this month. He was culling invasive Lionfish with two fellow divers.
In a post along with his video on YouTube, Shepard wrote that the first time he saw the shark, it was about 35 feet below him and -- terrifyingly -- "it ... approached from behind and had already passed me when I saw it."
The diver had ascended from a depth of 93 feet and was camped out 15 feet below the surface when the shark first appeared. (Safety precautions require divers to ascend gradually, staying in one spot for several minutes at a time to allow nitrogen to exit the bloodstream, otherwise they may get decompression sickness).
After the first encounter, Shepard wrote that the shark disappeared for a bit, then came back for a closer look, approaching him from straight below. The creature was likely attracted by the net full of fish Shepard had speared. He remained calm, even though it was "kind of like your worst fear," he told WCTV, "you know with the "Jaws" music in the background."
"Turning and running could trigger the predator/prey instinct, so I stood my ground aiming my speargun at its head," Shepard wrote on YouTube. "Fortunately, for whatever reason, this one turned at about 15' away and gave me a full profile view. I watched until it disappeared again then decided to take my chances with decompression sickness rather than a third visit from the shark, so I skipped the remaining 2 minutes of wait time and headed to the surface and safety of the boat."
In a later interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, Shepard described the shark as "docile, not aggressive at all." Despite that, however, he said "it's like your worst nightmare. I felt totally helpless. It was like it saw me before I saw it. That spooked me."
"This was the first one I've ever seen while diving and this experience will make me reconsider diving in murky water with limited visibility," he added in his YouTube comment. "I'm glad we both went our separate ways fully intact and healthy, but I hope I never have to experience another encounter like that again."
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