A Kwazulu-Natal diver who was nicked by a shark when it dashed at him to grab his freshly speared rock cod is unshaken and rather fascinated by his latest shark encounter.

Yup, you did read correctly, ‘latest’ encounter. For this seasoned diver has been up close and personal with many shark species not least hammerheads, and even a great white shark.

Diver recounts his clash with a shark

Jarid Norman, 38, an Umdloti creative designer and charter boat owner said he initially thought he had stabbed himself with his speargun but then noticed what appeared to be a shark’s tooth lodged in his bleeding head.

He said the latest up close and personal sighting last week was the first of its kind of the more than 100 encounters he has had with sharks since he began diving as a teenager.

“I have always dived at Umdloti at that spot and even moved there to dive. I was going out on a routine dive and sharks are always around, it’s like snakes are in the garden and they leave you alone unless you antagonise them or have something that they want,” Norman said.

“I had just shot a rock cod and pulled it out of the hole and and thought, ‘yay I have dinner’. Usually in the white water shallow area you don’t really have sharks around because they stay in deeper water and are not as sneaky as this one,” Norman said.

“I reached down for my dive knife and it felt like something just punched me in the head. It was not an attack, it was going for the fish in my hand. It’s like a dog, if you are holding a pie and it goes for the pie and bites your hand it’s a case of mistaken identity,” he said.

“I initially thought my dive partner had perhaps been dumped on me and I popped my head up to look around and saw him a few meters away…and then… it came straight back at me and judging by size it wasn’t a massive shark like Jaws but he was big enough to have cheek and he came at me and pulled the rock cod from me,” Norman said.

‘I thought maybe I stabbed myself

Norman said that when he noticed blood in the water he assumed it was from the rock cod.

“I told my partner that I had just shot a rock cod and a ‘little Johnny’ (shark) took it from me. I said I just got ‘taxed’ the little Johnny took it and he said ‘no your head is bleeding’,” Norman said.

“I felt my head and there was something in it and I thought maybe I had stabbed myself but when I used the mirror in the car I saw that it was a bone colour. It was a little fragment of the shark’s tooth,” he said.

Watch the video here:

Shark encounter ‘the thrill of a lifetime’

Norman said the KZN Sharks Board had asked him to take the tooth to their premises to see whether it could be used to identify the type of shark.

“They want to explore why the sharks are becoming a little bold and getting a bit closer than usual,” he said.

His latest encounter has left him unshaken and only more determined to capture on film the shark behaviour that has always fascinated him.

“I love the ocean, my passion is the ocean. My friend studied marine biology and I learned with him,” he said.

Asked how this encounter compared to his other shark experiences Norman said: “I have never had an encounter like this in 25 years. When I was scuba diving at Aliwal shoal a great white passed overhead and it was just sheer exuberance, knowing that it is an endangered species. Hammer head sharks dart past you when you have got fish on you. There are nine nurse sharks, which are like the puppy dogs of the ocean, that live in a special hole in Umhloti. I go to the hole with my dive torch to watch them,” Norman said.

“I have a new Go-Pro and I am not leaving it at home again when I go diving.”


Presh JM Reporter

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