A group of friends out diving in Alberni Inlet got the shock of their lives last week.
It was one of Connor McTavish’s first few dives, but he witnessed something that most lifelong divers will never encounter.
As he and the group headed out toward an old wreck, he spotted something huge moving about 20 meters down.
“It was such a bit of fear but amazement,” He told Global News.
It took him a second to process what he saw: “That’s a big shark, kind of surreal.”
When he signalled to the rest of the group what he’d witnessed, they thought he was seeing things.
“He’s the one that has the least amount of dives out of all of us, so when he said there’s a big shark, none of us believed him,” a more experienced diver from the group, Matteo Endrizzi, told Times Colonist.
The group continued into the deep, and about another 25 meters down, McTavish got the last laugh.
Swimming right below them was a bluntnose sixgill shark, a species rarely seen above a depth of 90 meters. It thrives in depths down to 2,500 meters.
With dark brown or grey colouring, six-gill slits on each side, two rows of teeth and growing up to a whopping 20ft in length – the elite predators are seldom seen by divers.
But this one was young and must have been especially curious.
Endrizzi told Global News it seemed attracted by the lamps they used to navigate.
“It kind of came to my light, then went over to Garrett’s and came back to mine, and just kind of circled in between us,” Endrizzi said.
“My first thought was turning my camera on; otherwise, no one’s going to believe us!”
Luckily for all of us, the footage they captured gives us all an inside look.
“It’s the biggest shark that we can see in our waters…you just never know what you’re gonna see.”
We’re stoked for these divers to have had this experience…but when it comes to swimming in the inlet this summer – we’ll be hoping no more sharks get too curious!