A pair of "brave" swimmers have been captured in incredible scenes while swimming off the coast of Bondi Beach in Sydney on Saturday morning.
Video shared by the DroneSharkApp Instagram account shows the pair swimming alongside a large school of salmon. A male swimmer streaks ahead of his female counterpart moments before a shark appears below her from behind the wall of fish.
The woman spots the shark and momentarily freezes in the water, before hurrying after her swimming partner in the opposite direction of the predator.
The voice of the drone operator narrates the scene: "I don't know about this ... wait for me," he says, impersonating the woman. "Wait for me, there's sharks in these ... oh here he comes!"
The shark appears to be a grey nurse shark which are largely harmless to humans and, as far as sharks go, are sometimes described as the "labradors of the sea". Nonetheless, many questioned the wisdom of swimming so close to the school of fish which are known to attract more dangerous sharks.
"Stupid does what stupid does. Swimming so close to schools of baitfish," one person commented.
"Note to self: if you ever come across a school of fish while in the ocean, swim the hell away as fast as possible," another said.
Others, meanwhile, commented on the "amazing" footage and remarked about the "bravery" of the elderly swimmers who, although appearing a little rattled, swam off safely together.
Authorities caution against swimming near bait fish
The NSW's Shark Smart website cautions swimmers to "avoid areas used by recreational or commercial fishers" as well as areas where the is a large amount of fish activity.
"Avoid areas with signs of bait fish or fish feeding activity; diving seabirds are a good indicator of fish activity," it says.
The Queensland government's website also provides a similar warning, saying; "If it looks fishy, it could be sharky. Leave the water if you see schools of bait fish or diving birds."
Survival of grey nurse sharks under threat
With a pointed snout and visible teeth, grey nurse sharks look scary but they’re actually quite placid and generally don’t pose a threat to humans.
An old-fashion misconception that grey nurses are ‘man-eaters’ sparked an intensive culling campaign in the 1950s and 60s, leading to the species being listed as "critically endangered" on the east coast of Australia.
To this day, they are still threatened by accidental hookings on fishing gear and captures in beach safety nets.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia last year, Ecologist Dr Keith Bishop suggested that the species' disappearance from an ocean stronghold on the NSW Mid North Coast could be partly caused by "Instagram culture" and a growing desire by divers and swimmers to get up close and personal with the sharks, which has pushed them away.
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