Under-the-sea Friendship: Diver And Shark Have Been Meeting Underwater For 11 Years

Diver Rick Anderson and a female shark have been friends for more than a decade.They first met in 2010 and have since become so fond of each other’s pats and cuddles.Rick hopes that his friendship with the six-inch-long shark and other sharks will change people’s negative misconception on these animals.This unlikely friendship stands the test of distance… of about hundred feet below.Their normal meet-up, which is off the coast of Nobbys Beach in New South Wales, Australia, always includes an oxygen tank, a mouth regulator and a complete diving suit for Rick Anderson.

Don’t get it wrong, though, there’s also an effort from his friend — a six-foot female Port Jackson shark. She would always swim up just to meet him.This 11-year friendship has made them recognize each other, despite it’s a big world down there. Rick distinguishes his friend through her markings. Although Rick doesn’t seem to have his own “markings,” “Port Jackson” perhaps has her way to know that it’s him.In 2017, Rich told The Dodo that their bond started in 2010, when she was just a six-inch-long pup.

“I approached her carefully so as not to spook her, then began to gently pat her,” Rick shared with The Dodo then. He added, “Once she got used to me, I would cradle her in my hand and talk soothingly to her through my regulator,” which he was doing for quite some time, until it becomes their custom.

Their friendship is like a master-dog kind. Rick doesn’t feed her as “Port Jackson” only wants to be petted, which remains unbelievable for most divers.

A scuba diver for more than 30 years, Rick hopes that his unique friendship with this shark, and the other sharks he plays with underwater, will change people’s fear toward these marine animals.

“The biggest misconception about sharks is that they are all mindless killers lying in wait for people to enter the water so they can be devoured,” he said.

Port Jackson sharks are a lot smaller than great white sharks. Though any kind of shark tends to spark fear, people are, in fact, more dangerous to sharks. Roughly, 73 million sharks per year are being killed by people to make shark fin soup.

Besides Port Jacksons, Rick dives with other species, such as banjo sharks, grey nurse sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks and even the odd great white shark — and he “always felt comfortable swimming” with them.

The best part of his friendship with “Port Jackson” is how she would always swim up to him and tap him on the legs so they could share a cuddle, warm enough for them to bask in the cold waters.