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Divers close call with a great white
Caught in the water with a great white shark. Divers Nathan Podmore and Dave Richards got a little too close for comfort. Pictures: Nathan Podmore

Two diving mates who fended off a 4m white pointer shark on Saturday near Geraldton have described the close encounter as a "life-changing experience".

Nathan Podmore and Dave Richards captured their face-to-face moment with the predator on video and have been trying to comprehend how they escaped harm.

"I'd just got into the water and I hadn't shot a fish or anything and there she was," Mr Podmore told The West Australian.

"She was probably there 25 seconds before we even knew she was there - the video shows it," Mr Podmore said.

The 26-year-old men had travelled less than a kilometre offshore from Drummond Point just north of Geraldton in their 6m boat when they weighed anchor to free-dive and spear fish.

They were in the water for a matter of minutes when Mr Richards sensed something.

"Nathan was on the top of the water getting ready to go down and I felt something moving behind me," he said. "I turned around and all I saw was the back section of the shark. Mate, it was a metre away. My heart sank and I just tried to get Nathan's attention."

Though he didn't notice the shark straight away, the mini-video camera strapped to Mr Podmore's head was capturing the white pointer's every move.

"As soon as Dave screamed my name out and I was face-to-face I knew it was a great white," Mr Podmore said.

"There's nothing in the water that looks like that. You think back now and wonder what if?

"Oh, mate, it was goosebumps. It was indescribable."

The men moved towards each other knowing their boat was about 50m away and the water the shark had to manoeuvre in was 11m deep.

Conscious not to make any sudden moves or create any surface splashing, the pair swam as calmly as they could while keeping their eyes on the shark.At one point it darted between the men and their boat before turning towards them. Armed with their spear guns they had to make the split-second decision whether to shoot at the shark.
"She made a couple of passes and followed us back," Mr Podmore said."People might say shoot it, but I think it would only bounce off and p… her off. We jabbed her a couple of times when she came too close for comfort."
The video clearly shows the spearhead sinking into side of the shark and without piercing the skin it was enough to turn her away long enough for the men to scramble to the safety of the boat."When we got to the boat I didn't take my head out of the water until I knew I had a three or four seconds to get on to the boat," Mr Podmore said.
Adrenalin was rushing through them and they let out screams of joy."We got lucky and got away with it," Mr Richards, who had driven up from Perth to go diving with Mr Podmore, said. "There were other guys diving not far away so we had to go and get them out of the water."Authorities last week revealed that a 5m great white tagged off Albany was cruising up and down the Perth coast.
Dave Richard and Nathan Podmore - safe back on their boat.

Surf ski paddler Martin Kane had a narrow escape last month when a 3.5m shark bit the end off his ski at Mullaloo.In April, leading shark resear- cher Rory McAuley said WA was the deadliest place in the world for shark attacks after the death of Peter Kurmann.The 33-year-old Vasse father, who was killed while diving offshore near Bunbury in March, was the fourth fatal shark attack victim off WA since September.But this latest encounter with the ocean killer hasn't put off Mr Podmore and Mr Richards from going back into the sea."I know the risks I take when I jump in. I have enormous respect for the ocean," Mr Podmore said."It's life-changing. I had always said that I wanted to see a great white on a clear day and with a camera and I ticked all the boxes in five minutes of insanity."