Spearfisherman Has Terrifyingly Close Encounter With Great White Shark Off North Carolina Coast

by Matthew Memrick

A spearfisherman thought it was cool to see a Great White Shark off the North Carolina coast, but then the shark turned toward him.

Virginia Beach Seafood Co. worker David Scherrer was with others 20 miles off the coast when he encountered the 10-foot-long shark on Dec. 16. The man was about 50 feet down when the shark started swimming parallel to him at a distance.

“At first, I thought it was awesome,” Scherrer told The Virginian-Pilot.

The 22-year-old man said, “it’s a pretty unique experience just to see one, but as it started going towards me, it wasn’t so cool anymore.”

Man Catches Shark On Video

While Scherrer admitted that he liked seeing the shark, he swam prepared with a speargun. You can see it visible in a video he recorded while swimming with the shark.

According to USA Today, Scherrer had his speargun pointed at the shark during the encounter. An Instagram commenter asked how close he came to shooting. 

“If it opens its mouth, I shoot,” Scherrer replied.

The man reacted differently on Facebook, saying two things went through his mind as the animal approached. The first was a self-reminder to hold your ground and not panic. Scherrer said the second thought was where to stab the shark if it got too close.

The animal turned toward Scherrer before turning and swimming away in one moment. 

Scherrer told the Norfolk newspaper that he started spearfishing several years ago while in high school. He’d go with friends to the Chesapeake Bay when he lived near Chic’s Beach.

The man said he’s had sharks swim near him before, but not at him as this particular one did.

Seafood service owner Todd Elder was in the boat above when Scherrer came near the beast. He told the newspaper that it was the third time he and his employees had come across a shark since September.

Social Media Has Fun With Man And His Shark

Social media fans shared the man’s awe of the experience. But a few weren’t so thrilled by it.

Another Instagram commenter was not keen on the man’s meeting. Ronaldo Martino first said it was not wise to dive 20 miles offshore. Next, he criticized the man for thinking that his speargun would kill this Great White or any other shark. 

Martino said shooting the animal with a speargun would only upset the shark

“Consider yourself lucky and learned a lesson from this,” Martino said.

On a Spearchannel post, a few men got into a spirited exchange when one said, “Imagine that, you strolling around the sharks home and it gets curious and wants to see what your doing there… funny how that works.”

One instigator responded that the “ocean is pretty big to “own” house wise.” That comment got a “smartass” label from the original poster.