Shark that loves hugs forms bond with diver
SYDNEY — Sharks are a vital part of the marine ecosystem, often thought to be dangerous and deadly creatures, but for Australian diver Rick Anderson, they are good friends.
Nestled in the pristine beaches of Australian tourist town Port Macquarie, Anderson, the owner of Rick’s Diving School, has made an unlikely friend in a shark that was born close to one of his frequent diving spots a few years ago.
Anderson said on Thursday that his relationship with his “true dinosaur” friend began at birth when he spotted a group of newborn sharks.
“I came across some fresh hatched ones poking around on the bottom, I approached one just to show my dive students that were with me at the time,” he said.
“I had it sitting on my hand, patting her and scratching her, and that went on for a couple of months because I saw her fairly regularly.”
This unusual relationship between the experienced diving instructor, and his bullhead shark friend — known for their large, blunt heads — continued as he would regularly visit her as she grew.
“I would see her around that particular reef, and she became more and more familiar with me to the point where she would come up for a cuddle of her own accord,” Anderson said.
The city of Port Macquarie attracts thousands of tourists every year who come to see the beaches and local attractions, and Anderson said that visitors to the area can also get up close and personal with his 1.7-meter-long friend.
“She comes to me, she will swim past other divers to come to me for a bit of a cuddle first, but once I’ve given her a scratch or a pat she is quite happy to be passed over to someone else to give her a pat, or even a cuddle,” he said.