SOURCE: Newcastle Herald
NUKULBA resident Warren Sternbeck reckons he drives people to drink. But after witnessing a great white shark breach beside him in Lake Macquarie, he needed one himself.
Mr Sternbeck, who runs Allaroundthevines wine tours out of Cessnock, was road-testing his newly acquired 14-foot Quintrex tinnie near Pulbah Island with brother-in-law Rodney Collins about noon on Wednesday when they heard an almighty splash behind them.
‘‘We turned around and saw the water churning and then the shark surfaced,’’ he said. ‘‘I quickly pulled anchor and sped away because I didn’t know if it would jump in the boat. There were some choice words, it was a bit unnerving. But my brother-in-law was stoked.’’
After regaining composure, the boys started following the fish from a distance, taking photos and video.
‘‘It swam around for a while before disappearing and then breached again. It was amazing,’’ Mr Sternbeck said. ‘‘I said to Rodney to keep the video going and we might capture it leaping out of the water.’’
Sure enough, the shark obliged – not once but twice.
‘‘I’ve been fishing for 40-odd years and that’s the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever seen,’’ Mr Collins said. ‘‘I’ve been reef fishing and whatever but I never thought I’d ever see something like that ever, let alone in our backyard.’’
After putting on a show the shark headed over towards Murrays Beach and the men lost sight of it.
Mr Sternbeck rang Fisheries to try to determine what sort of shark it was.
‘‘They said it was very rare to see them jumping out of the water, let alone get it on video,’’ said Mr Sternbeck, who believes it’s probably the same shark featured in the Herald on Friday.
‘‘It had the same white tip on tail. We saw it in the same area, it was the same size, about 2.5 metres. My new boat’s about 14-foot-long and this thing was nearly as big.’’
Warren has recently bought an onsite van at Wangi caravan park and was looking forward to hours relaxing by the water, but after this encounter he’s reconsidering his options.
‘‘The boat might be for sale,’’ he laughed. ‘‘I’m new to fishing but I’m always looking for sharks because you hear the stories.
‘‘I didn’t think I’d ever come across something like this. It’s unbelievable. Something we will treasure. It was a big experience.’’