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01.04.11

50ft great white snapped off Irish coast!

A Sport Diver reader and amateur photographer has snapped a record-breaking 50ft great white shark off the coast of Ireland.

Jester Fawls, of Gortahork, was diving with his wife April off the northern coast of Ireland, between the mainland and Tory Island when he spotted the beast. The pair were on a day-long dive trip with a number of diving buddies.

“We were on our second dive of the day when we saw it. The first dive had been near the mainland’s shore and didn’t offer much other than a handful of crustaceans,” said Jester.

“I was moaning to April on the boat ride to the middle of the channel about the lack of life. I hadn’t seen visibility like that in 20 years of diving the Irish coast and I was gutted that the early dive, which is optimum photo-time, offered so little. I guess someone up there was listening. What happened next was just incredible. I still can’t believe it.”

Having ascended to approximately 5m following a successful 30m dive, Jester was using his safety-stop time to take a few shots of his wife hovering amid the sun’s rays.

Out of nowhere, the enormous shark appeared, breached the surface and then swam out of sight.

“I got one shot off,” said Jester. “It all happened so quickly I couldn’t get any more. The angle’s perfect though, and you can see the whole length of it. It must be about 50ft! I think this shot might make the mantelpiece!”

Along with sending the shot into his favourite diving magazine, Jester also emailed the image to various marine biologists and shark experts.

“I’ve been overwhelmed with the response - and all within hours of sending it out. Some have questioned the photo’s authenticity, but most are simply excited. One said that the photo was ‘game-changing’, whatever that means.”

Meanwhile, April said that the incident won’t stop her getting back in the waters off the Irish coast.

“I was scared for sure,” she said. “If it had been hungry, I would have been a goner. And let’s face it, a shark doesn’t get to being that big without a healthy appetite.”

For expert opinion on the incident, visit www.fictitiousfins.co.uk or www.fishystories.co.uk

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