A teenager says his dreams have come true after he recorded a heart-stopping interaction with a great white shark – a scene that would likely be a nightmare for many.
Nick Bailey was free diving with friends off the coast of Florida when he spotted the silhouette of a great white gliding close to the seabed far below him.
In a video posted to his Instagram, Nick excitedly yells to his friend, “great white, great white!” before diving down to approach the shark.
As he reaches the side of the huge animal, he reaches out and grabs its tail – causing it to quickly surge forward.
On the surface Nick screams, “I touched a great white!” before high-fiving a fellow diver.
"Two great whites in two days, that’s insane!" he says.
The teen's followers were stunned by the daring act.
"Gotta be lucky to see one. Or better yet touch one. Very cool," one wrote, as others described it as "sick", "insane" and "awesome".
"No need to touch it man. Leave it be," another said.
Second encounter in two days
Incredibly, it was the second great white encounter in less that 24 hours for the teen.
The previous day Nick was off the coast of Stuart when he saw the large shark.
“I thought I saw a bull shark, but really quickly I realised it was not a bull shark,” he told 7 News Miami about the first encounter.
“After I looked at the video… I was like, ‘Man, I was so close to it. I really wish this could happen again and I could touch it. Like, that would have been so cool’,” he said.
His wishes came true the next day with the second sighting off the coast of Jupiter – where he admitted to the news outlet that his actions weren’t smart.
“I know that sharks can change their behaviour in a matter of seconds, but that thing, he was cool,” Nick said.
“I knew what he wanted, and he wanted nothing to do with me.”
'You'd never pat a lion': Expert warns to leave sharks alone
While Nick's followers were impressed by the stunt, experts warn that swimmers should never attempt to touch a shark.
"The golden rule of any diver is to never approach any animal to touch it, let alone a great white – you wouldn't simply walk up to a lion on safari so you can pat it," shark biologist Dr Leonardo Guida told Yahoo News Australia.
"Approaching an animal like a great white to touch it could scare or stress it out and the shark may react defensively which could have a nasty outcome for the diver."
Dr Guida said if a swimmer were to see a shark, it's important not to panic.
"If you see a shark, remain as calm as possible and avoid any erratic movement that might look like you're a fish in distress – sharks are curious and will want to 'explore' further.
"Also, if you're underwater, keep your eye on the shark and stay upright as this will make you appear larger and more imposing."
Great white sharks are an endangered species and while there are no specific laws about how close you can be to an animal, Dr Guida said to use "common sense" whenever you are close to a potentially dangerous animal.
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