The Jaws star doesn't usually make an appearance in Gulfstream waters, preferring instead to stick to the northeastern coastline in the Atlantic and the California coast in the Pacific where there is a tasty buffet of seals and sea lions.
But this weekend, four divers participating in the Fort Pierce Freedive Open Spearfishing Tournament spotted what they are alleging was a 12- to 14-foot great white shark even though they are rarely - if ever - seen in these parts outside of the winter months.
Saturday around 6:30 a.m. Steve Maldonado, Eros Morales, and two other free-diving friends stopped just north of the Fort Pierce inlet in about 130-foot water, according to their account on Spearboard.com.
One diver had just entered the water when Maldonado saw him retreat back towards the boat with his spear gun pointed out in the water. He no sooner jumped back onboard the vessel, cleverly named the "Boaty Call," then the others saw a "huge fin follow him to the edge of the boat."
They started chumming the water to get the shark to come closer so they could record video evidence of their rare encounter. Watch the above footage.
Still shaken up by the sighting, Maldonado wrote: "I looked at the video several times today and noticed how his fins were down. I have heard before that sharks do this when they are in 'aggressive mode.' To me, this is scary; he didn't run into a person/boat and take a look and swim off, he followed the diver all the way back to the boat and stayed with us."
Maldonado added that he and the other divers onboard the Boaty Call were too nervous to go back into the water when they ventured back inland to 90-foot water.
"I believe this white wanted to try man," he wrote. "There was a strong wind and he stayed with us for about 20 minutes."
So was it indeed a great white shark?
"I called it a great white, but probably prematurely, while another guy said it was a tiger shark," Maldonado told TC Palm. "When Eros got in the boat, it swam close and we could see it looked a lot like a great white."
George H. Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at Florida Museum of Natural History told HuffPost, "That is indeed a white shark... I'm inclined to believe the story because lots of natural things - especially the weather - have been a bit out of kilter of late, so all bets are off. To quote an old rock song from the group Spirit, it may be 'Nature's way of telling you something's wrong.'"
Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, who researches the behavioral ecology of marine predators at the University of Miami, further confirmed that such sightings are possible: "This is by no means common, but ever year there are a handful of spotting in Florida waters. In the spring time, they tend to be encountered around Florida's sea-mounts, co-occurring with the spawning of large pelagic fishes, such as amberjacks. White sharks are probably moving through our waters, tracking prey."
That same morning, on the other side of the world, a 24-year-old surfer was bitten in half by a great white shark off Wedge Island, Western Australia.
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