How close would you dare to get to a great white shark? Most of us wouldn’t even dip a toe in the water if we knew a great white was lurking in the shadows, but some daring people actually desire this experience.
Euan Rannachan is a California-based photographer who has spent much of his career seeking out the great white shark, getting as close as possible to the powerful creatures in order to capture their beauty on film.
“I’ve always been super-fascinated by apex predators, particularly sharks,” the wildlife photographer said to Newsweek. “Growing up we had movies like ‘Jaws’ and the rest, but I had never really seen any kind of fine art photo of a great white shark.”
Rannachan decided to combine his passion for photography and sharks by creating the Be A Shark excursion company with fellow photographer Nikki Brant Sevy. On the Be A Shark tours, daring customers get on a boat that takes them to Guadalupe Island, located 120 miles off the coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. A shark wrangler on the boat uses a rope that is baited with yellowfin tuna to attract the sharks, and then those who are brave enough get into a cage that is suspended in the water near the boat.
“Hollywood portrays sharks as dangerous and terrifying because that sells tickets,” Rannachan wrote on his photography website. “It’s my goal to show the other side of these apex predators through my photos and videos. A lot of people’s reaction is fear, but also intrigue. I hope my images convey just how beautiful white sharks can be.”
Despite being so close to these legendary hunters, Rannachan says he has never been afraid for his life. However, he does worry about whether his customers will freak out once they are face-to-face with a “Jaws”-like shark.
Wouldn’t you react if this came at you? He posted this image to Facebook.
“I’ve never been worried that the shark was going to do anything,” Rannachan says. “I have been worried about people in the cage, just because it’s a massive rush, like an out-of-body experience. There are moments when you just have to make sure everybody is OK in the cage, make sure they’re still breathing.”
Unfortunately for great white aficionados, Guadalupe Island is currently closed to tourist excursions like the Be A Shark great white expeditions and other shark diving companies.
Divers are hoping that Guadalupe Island will open up again sometime in 2023, but the closure could continue indefinitely. Shark fans can still take other trips with the Be A Shark company, including swimming with pelagic sharks in Cabo San Lucas.
And you can always safely enjoy Rannachan’s breathtaking photography of these vulnerable great whites via social media, like this close-up view!
Would you swim with great white sharks?