A Florida free diving guide recently captured a once-in-a-lifetime photo, and the result is fin-tastic. Capt. John Moore took photos of a bull shark so massive and “abnormally round” that it made other sharks and divers in its company look tiny. Earlier this spring, the Jupiter, Fla. native captured the shark and thought it was likely pregnant.
“With sharks you can never really be sure, but it certainly seems that way,” he said. “This is the correct timing for pregnant females to be having their pups.”
Moore, a photographer, and conservationist posted several of his images via Instagram.
In a recent interview, he revealed that the shark in the image atop his post looks larger than it actually is because of the angle of the photograph.”The shark is big, but perspective shots make it look bigger,” he said. “But most of our bulls are about 250 pounds and she was closer to 600 pounds.”
For comparison, the world record catch stands at just slightly below 700 pounds. While the bull sharks can get much bigger, sadly, the breed is becoming rare due to overfishing.
While it may be a surreal experience to swim with these sharks, it’s not for the faint of heart. According to the International Shark Attack File, bull head sharks have been responsible for over 100 attacks on humans. Moreover, more than two dozen attacks resulted in fatalities.
Although there’s a high risk of diving with bull sharks, they’re often hesitant to come upon divers.
“Bull sharks get a bad rap and they are, in my opinion, one of the easiest sharks to freedive with here in Florida,” Moore said. “They are big, but very cautious and much less trusting than most of our sharks. It’s safe to say that they are one of the most misunderstood sharks.”
He added, “The majority of stories you hear about are mistakes made by the shark in poor visibility where they mistake a flash of skin for a fish. In clear water they are honestly very gentle and respectful.”
Moore’s shark, however, was anything but shy about joining them for a swim.
“This big female rolled up with the confidence and swagger of a true apex predator,” Moore recalled of the experience. “There’s normally an adjustment period where they size up how much of a threat they think you are. There were no such formalities with her.
“She felt comfortable around us very quickly and boldly paraded around me and my dive partner Logan. It’s a big accomplishment to grow to maturity for a shark these days and seeing one this large gives me hope.”