Photos & Text
by Mike Gerken
Evolution Underwater Imaging LLC©2011;All rights reserved
Hovering at a depth of 80 feet of seawater and only a few inches over the foredeck of the wreck, I remained motionless while breathing slowly in and out in an effort not to startle my prey with the noisy bubbles venting from my regulator. After waiting nearly ten minutes several targets in the distance slowly approached to within range for a shot and my patience was about to pay off. A large Sand Tiger Shark around 8 feet in length slowly approached me from the head on while not heeding my presence. I lined my sights up on the rows of the gnarly ragged teeth jutting out of her mouth and just when it seemed she was going to bump in to my dome port I fired off a round of shots from my submerged digital SLR camera. Snap, snap, snap! The brilliant flash of my twin underwater strobes fired off in rapid succession but did not alarm the Shark as she continued to approach me. I then lowered the bulky camera housing and tried to back out of the situation to avoid contact. My sudden movement must have gotten her attention because within a split second the once languid Sand Tiger Shark instantly sprang to life as she snapped around folding her body almost in half until pointing her snout nearly in the opposite direction. The whipping motion and the lighting speed of the tail created a cracking sound like a muffled shotgun blast. Instinctively, I covered my face with my free hand so the concussion of water would not knock my mask off as had nearly happened on previous encounters with these sharks. A turbulent wall of water rushed at me knocking me for a spin but, luckily with no further dire consequences for the shark or myself. When I dropped my hand all I could see was the faint outline of the shark speeding away from me in to the blue water. Phew! I could now take a deep breath and allow my heart rate to return to a normal pace while reviewing on my cameras LCD the images that I hoped would yield at least one great shot. I could clearly see a large expanse of teeth taking up a substantial area of the LCD while many of the details of the face were in clear focus. "Success", I murmured to myself. I had just landed another prized photograph of one of my all time favorite subjects.