A wobbegong shark that found itself in the Towradgi ocean pool yesterday managed to free itself through a pipe before experts arrived on the scene – but not before keen diver Norm Hoyland got up close and personal with the fish.
The wobbegong, estimated at 1.7 metres long, was believed to have been washed into the pool by a wave during Tuesday night’s high tide.
It was spotted yesterday morning by a member of the public who reported it to Wollongong City Council’s pool maintenance crew.
The pool was closed and experts were summoned from Sydney Aquarium, while the wobbegong made itself comfortable on the pool floor.
But when a valve that lets water in and out of the pool was opened, the animal answered the call of the ocean, slipping through the pipe to freedom.
Luckily for Mr Hoyland, of Port Kembla, he had rushed to the pool when he heard about the unusual visitor, and managed to gently approach the shark with his underwater camera.
‘‘It was awesome,’’ Mr Hoyland, 53, said.
‘‘It was placid and calm; it wasn’t worried at all.
‘‘It swam right over the top of me.’’
Mr Hoyland had photographed wobbegongs before but the calm water of the pool made for a great photo, which he sent to the Mercury.
‘‘You don’t often get the opportunity to have that clear water, in the pool,’’ he said.
It is not the first time a shark has been washed into a Wollongong ocean pool, but it is a rare event.
Wobbegongs are generally not a threat to humans unless provoked, although one was named as the culprit when a surfer was bitten on the leg at Mona Vale in 2010.