Well, that escalated quickly. A recent great white shark cage diving trip turned scary for about one minute. Crew aboard a ship near Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico were coaxing Great White sharks with large chunks of tuna. What happens next is one of the craziest videos you’ll see today. The shark grabs the tuna and barrels right into the shark cage. Moments later the shark makes its way inside the cage while a diver is in there.
Props to the boat crew quickly realizing what’s going on and opening the top door. That action allows the shark to quickly wiggle its way out of the cage and back into the open sea.
“What might appear to be an aggressive great white shark trying to attack the cage, this is not the case,” the cameraman wrote on YouTube. “These awesome sharks are biting at large chunks of tuna tied to a rope. When a great white shark lunges and bites something, it is temporarily blinded. They also cannot swim backwards. So this shark lunged at the bait, accidentally hit the side of the cage, was most likely confused and not able to swim backwards, it thrust forward and broke the metal rail of the cage.”
During the confusion, several people aboard the boat ask if someone was inside. A few seconds later we see the lone diver rise up to the surface. Uninjured, but with one hell of a story to tell.
“The diver is a very experienced dive instructor, remained calm, and when the shark thrashed back outside the cage, the diver calmly swam back up and climbed out completely uninjured,” adds the cameraman.
Again, good job by everyone involved. Especially, the diver and the crewmember who opened the top door.
Great White Shark’s vision when attacking
The cameraman mentions how the shark was temporarily blinded when it lunged at the bait. This is a defense mechanism to protect its eyes when attacking prey. Right at the moment of attack, great white sharks roll their eyes exposing a tough coat. It’s especially useful against the sharp claws and teeth of seals.
Watch this short Smithsonian video about shark eyes to see this defense mechanism in action.
You can see how the great white shark in the top video would have become temporarily blinded when grabbing the tuna. It slams into the shark cage with no vision, probably panicked and used its strength to barrel its way inside the cage. It’s a fascinating look at the temporary disadvantage great white sharks are at during attack. Then again, most great whites don’t have to contend with metal cages near their prey.