You may all remember the famous photo of the Great White shark shadowing the guy in the yellow kayak off the coast of False Bay, in South Africa.
On my recent trip to Johannesburg, I happened to buy the book "South Africa's Great White Shark" by Thomas Peschak and Michael C. Scholl. Peschak was the photographer who took the famous photo, which subsequently caused much discussion as to whether the photo was doctored or not. In the book it shows a number of other similar photos and they are certainly the real thing. It seems the researchers used kayaks to study the GWS of False Bay as it allowed them to approach the sharks with ease in shallow water, and get closer to them. The motorised research vessel emitted electromagnetic discharges and vibrations and the researchers found that these "disrupt sharks natural behaviour". They were either persistently attracted to, or repelled from, the boat".
They also write: "Upon first encountering the kayaks, the sharks circled us cautiously; but they soon became comfortable enough to swim alongside us to within a metre of our vessels (kayaks). As we had hoped, they then continued on their way, disregarding our presence completely, allowing us to track them discreetly and observe their natural behaviour".
The authors also offer the following advice:
"Avoid paddling in areas known to be frequented by GWS i.e near seal colonies.
If approached by a GWS, stop paddling and remain still - it is the movement of the kayak that most interests the shark.When we have encountered GWS while conducting research from kayaks, we have found that the harder and faster we paddled, the greater was the sharks' interest, and the closer they came to the boat. Once we stopped paddling, however, most of the sharks circled the kayak once or twice and then lost interest.
Use a large kayak, for it seems that the bigger the craft, the less likely it is the GWS will risk an investigatory bite.
As with swimmers and divers, there seems to be safety in numbers - paddle in groups".
And now the photo one more time....
Yellow Prowler 15 :shock: