Tourist's 'one in a million' encounter with great white shark

A tourist has snapped an incredible photo of a great white shark in South Australian waters that people are calling the best they've ever seen.

Shark cage diving group Calypso Star Charters, based in Port Lincoln, shared the photo from Sunday's adventure at Neptune Island Marine Park, a three-hour boat ride away.

While not for the fainthearted, the adrenaline-fuelled activity offers people a rare glimpse of the endangered species that are dwindling in numbers.

A photo of a shark in the water with its mouth open, near people in a shark diving cage.
A diver managed to snap a rare photo of a shark Neptune Island Marine Park while shark cage diving in South Australia. Source: Facebook/Shark Cage Diving - Calypso Star Charters

"Check out this great photo guest Melissa Rix got during her dive on board with us! What a great day seeing 5 different Great White Sharks," Calypso Star Charters said on their Facebook page.

Andrew Wright, one of the tour captains, told Yahoo News Australia the shark would've likely opened its mouth for "a split-second," which the diver managed to capture.

"The shark has probably attempted to take tuna (bait) from a meter and a half away from the cage to then come right next to the cage," Mr Wright said. "So it's not trying to eat the diver or anything like that, it's simply gone for the bait."

He described the shot as "one in a million". "She captured a beautiful image there," he said.

What can you expect from shark cage diving?

For those interested in the experience, Mr Wright has offered an insider's perspective on what to expect.

"You’re in a cage, the cage is floating on the surface of the water. Nearly half a meter of the cage actually sticks out so that people who haven’t dived before who get a bit nervous, can still come to the surface in the safety of the cage," he said.

"The vessel has a couple of compressors and then air is fed into the cage, but instead of having a tank attached to your back, you just have a short hose connected to the cage."

"We put a bait in the water, so small pieces of tuna to attract the sharks closer to the boat. That’s all very very tightly regulated, there’s limits on how much we can use, its not just a ‘chuck a cow into the water and see what turns up’".

Having worked for the company for 20 years, Mr Wright said his "holy grail day" was seeing 16 different white sharks in one trip that he will probably never see again.

"Five sharks is a good day, some days we’ve seen seven or eight, and it's very rare that a group will miss out," he said.

When asked how newcomers usually react to seeing a shark up close and personal, Mr Wright said mainly with "admiration".

"They are a magnificent animal and I think that people really come on board with a preconceived idea of what it's going to be like and then once they see the majesty of the sharks, they are just blown away," he said.

Facts about sharks demonstrating that more humans kill sharks than sharks kill humans. Source: Yahoo News Australia
Facts about sharks demonstrating that more humans kill sharks than sharks kill humans. Source: Yahoo News Australia

Social media users react to photo

The post received more than 500 reactions and over 80 comments, inspiring adrenaline junkies to take a chance themselves or go again.

"What a rush," one person said.

"Wowsers!! That’s an epic shot! Can’t wait to get back in the cage one day," said another.

"Best one I have seen," a third person said.

Though understandably, not everyone was convinced. "Omg nooooo," one person said. "I just couldn’t, I think I’d pass out."

"Was there any peeing of the pants involved??" said another.

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