Alex Pike got more than he bargained for when taking photos of some schooling fish in front of the sea pool at Port Kembla beach.
Close to shore, the last thing he expected to see was a “huge” grey nurse shark.
Actually Pike was too “wrapped up” in the fish to notice the shark, who also seemed pretty interested in the fish, had crept up behind him.
“While I was startled at first, the shark just seemed a bit curious in me and soon lost interest,” he said.
“I swam with it for over an hour as it circled through the huge schools of fish before it swam out over the reef and was on its way.”
The encounter last Friday took place on the sand flats in front of paddles reef.
“A super rare encounter considering how shallow the water is there,” he said.
“It's the first time I've seen a grey nurse shark in that sort of habitat, so I can only assume it was on its way north and stopped in to have a bit of a rest.”
Pike said sharks were incredibly misunderstood creatures, and unfortunately the grey nurse population on the east coast was hunted to the brink extinction a few decades ago.
“This one had some old fishing gear sticking out of its mouth, which is such a shame to see as we should be doing more to protect these amazing animals,” he said.