Hundreds of hammerhead sharks surround diver in amazing video

Experts say the fish travel in very large groups at certain times of the year

A group of hammerhead sharks swim in the waters surrounding the Pacific islet of Malpelo, a Colombian wildlife sanctuary. AP
Powered by automated translation

Incredible video footage has emerged of a scuba diver swimming among a vast school of sharks, mostly distinctive Hammerheads, off the coast of Okinawa, Japan.

A Japanese diver, who goes by the name Tatsuro, filmed the encounter in March, but released the GoPro footage last week on his instagram page.

According to the Aloha Divers Okinawa, a diving school on the island, groups of up to 200 Hammerhead sharks can be seen in the region between January and March.

Last week, diver Joshua Shankle, a scuba diver and round the world yachtsman, posted a similar video of an encounter with dozens of sharks.

He did not disclose the location of the dive, but has previously written about diving with large "shivers," or groups of sharks on the Fakarava Atoll in the Pacific’s French Polynesia.

According to Shark Angels, a US conservation charity, diving with sharks is less dangerous than commonly perceived, under the right circumstances and with proper training and safety equipment.

The organisation says sharks rarely attack humans and "the risk of injury, let alone death, while diving with sharks is incredibly low".

But the organisation is quick to warn that "sharks are large wild animals. Stepping into their habitat has some risks. With the proper safety protocols, a high level of diving experience, and guidance from reputable dive operations, the risk is small".

The Australian government's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries warns swimmers that sharks "could mistake you for prey in the dim conditions of dawn and dusk," and advises them to avoid swimming in open sea in areas where sharks have been reported at these times.

Tatsuro submitted his video as a prize-winning entry to the GoPro awards. The awards ask participants to “capture all the rad things you love to do.” Tatsuro’s instagram page, which has nearly 26,000 followers, shows a large number of posts featuring close encounters with aquatic life, including sharks and manta rays.

Updated: July 30, 2023, 8:09 PM