Diver’s bait ball swim off Co­ral Bay a ‘cal­cu­lated risk’

Pilbara News - - News - Liam Croy

What would you do if you saw 200 hun­gry sharks con­verg­ing on a bait ball twice the size of a foot­ball field?

If you an­swered, “swim into the bait ball”, you might have a kin­dred spirit in Perth man An­dre Rerekura.

Mr Rerekura made the as­ton­ish­ing de­ci­sion to put him­self in the mid­dle of a mas­sive feed­ing frenzy off Co­ral Bay re­cently.

His friend and col­league Ryan Chat­field de­scribed it as a “cal­cu­lated risk”.

The men co-founded Terra Aus­tralis, an un­der­wa­ter pro­duc­tion com­pany which has worked with the likes of The New York Times and the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel.

Terra Aus­tralis is their labour of love when they get time away from their reg­u­lar jobs as com­mer­cial divers in the oil and gas in­dus­try.

Mr Rerekura re­cently fin­ished filming for a Shark Week doc­u­men­tary on the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion off WA’s coast.

He saw birds feed­ing about 400m off­shore — pre­sum­ably on a bait ball — and de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate.

It wasn’t un­til he put a drone in the air that he re­alised the scale of the event he was see­ing. “It was pretty mes­meris­ing,” Mr Rerekura said.

“It was a lit­tle bit daunt­ing when you couldn’t see much but it felt pretty safe.

“We no­ticed the sharks weren’t re­ally cu­ri­ous about us at all, they were prob­a­bly more scared of us.”

Video of the en­counter shows the screen go­ing dark be­cause of the den­sity of the bait ball.

The sharks were mainly bronze whalers and sand­bar whalers.

Pic­ture: Terra Aus­tralis

Dozens of sharks were de­vour­ing the bait ball.

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