Kayaking with Great White Sharks


When this picture was first published in Africa Geographic, it set of a media firestorm; hundreds of letters and e-mails demanded to know if – and how – it was faked. Amazingly, it was not. The picture was taken by marine biologist Thomas Peschak when a a great white shark began to exhibit curiosity about a kayak inhabited by fellow marine biologist Trey Snow – and his explanation of the photograph’s circumstances are truly fascinating.

[Taken from his website:]

To capture this image I tied myself to the tower of the research boat Lamnidae and leaned into the void, precariously hanging over the ocean while waiting patiently for a white shark to come along. I wanted to shot a photograph that would tell the story of our research efforts to track white sharks using kayaks. When the first shark of the day came across our sea kayak it dove to the seabed and inspected it from below. I quickly trained my camera on the dark shadow which slowly transformed from diffuse shape into the sleek outline of a large great white. When the shark’s dorsal fin broke the surface I thought I had the shot, but hesitated a fraction of a second and was rewarded with marine biologist Trey Snow in the kayak turning around to look behind him. I pressed the shutter and the rest was history. Throughout the day I shot many more images, most showing the kayak following the shark, but all lacked the power of that first image of the great white tracking the kayak.

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