Distributor of Ideas

The Inertia

There’s no way around it: Emil Pirzenthal, owner of Aliwal Shoal Adventures based in South Africa, has a giant set of….scuba tanks. That’s what we’ll call them. The dive master leads trips in this beautiful part of the world on the KwaZulu Natal Coast. We recently dug up this story where Emil claims a great white protected him from other hungry sharks feeding on a dead whale.

Emil is a shark expert. He’s observed them in their natural habitat for years. In 2017, Emil was part of the Great Shark Swim, a planned 100-kilometer charity swim in the Agulhas Current, the western boundary current of the southwest Indian Ocean, along the same stretch of coast. Unfortunately, it had to be called off at around 28 kilometers after the team was severely hindered by blue bottle jellyfish stings. The swim was organized to raise awareness “of shark and ray species such as blue sharks, mako sharks, dusky sharks, and bronze whaler sharks targeted in long-line fishing gear.” Needless to say, Emil has a passion for sharks and sea-going species.

The man is also a solid storyteller, as you can hear above. He relays the tale of how he went out to observe the sharks around a dead whale. As he got further away from the carcass, the tiger and dusky sharks kept coming at him. He claims the great white protected him from these other, aggressive species that were lower on the pecking order. It’s a great story, and the footage he captured on his GoPro (while not super high in quality) certainly does it justice.

Learn more about sharks in Ocean Ramsey’s Guide to Sharks and Safety.


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