Earlier this week, divers off the coast of Oahu got the shock of a lifetime when they came face-to-face with Deep Blue, one of the largest great white sharks ever on record.
According to USA Today, the divers were monitoring tiger sharks as they consumed the decomposing corpse of a sperm whale when Deep Blue made her appearance. Though most people would be overwhelmed with fear at the mere sight of the shark, who measures in at some 20 feet long and is thought to be at least 50 years old, the divers thought it was pure bliss.
"I’m without words; it’s heartwarming; she’s probably the most gentle great white I’ve ever seen," Ocean Ramsey, one of the divers studying the sharks, told The Star-Advertiser. As Ramsey also noted, Deep Blue even came over to the boat and brushed up against it, a behavior he believes wasn’t threatening. Instead, he believes she was simply attempting to scratch herself.
"She was just this big beautiful gentle giant wanting to use our boat as a scratching post," he said. "We went out at sunrise, and she stayed with us pretty much throughout the day."
According to diver and photographer Kimberly Jeffries, who was on the expedition, the entire event was an "absolutely breathtaking experience, and really quite humbling to be in the presence of this great shark.” She added to The Star-Advertiser, "She is an absolutely beautiful and magnificent being that both commands and deserves respect."
And, to make this Disney movie complete, Ramsey noted on Instagram that when Deep Blue departed the area she was “escorted by two rough-toothed dolphins who danced around her.”
But as the team of divers also noted, Deep Blue shouldn’t be swimming in the waters off the Hawaiian coast as the area is generally too warm for great whites. However, she may have drifted toward Hawaii out of hunger, or due to a need for extra nutrients as the giant shark is also thought to be pregnant, U.S. News and World Report explained.
Though the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources would like civilians to stay away from the area where the whale carcass is floating, the researchers explained that Deep Blue may be safe to swim around thanks to her pregnancy.
"Big pregnant females are actually the safest ones to be with — the biggest, oldest ones — because they've seen it all, including us," Ramsey explained. "That's why I kind of call her, like, a grandma shark."
Still, maybe think twice and perhaps fill your need for shark encounters by looking at photos of Deep Blue instead.