A RATHMINES fisherman has captured close-up footage of a great white shark he estimates was more than three metres long as it swam around his boat off Wangi Wangi on Sunday.
Dean Grant, who returned to Lake Macquarie recently after almost five years working on Barrow Island off the West Australian coast, said he was fishing between Wangi and Pulbah Island on Sunday when the shark appeared.
“I’d put the tinnie in at about 10.30 and I was out there fishing at about noon and I got the shock of my life,” Mr Grant said.
“I thought: ‘What the hell is that?’ It came closer and I realised what it was. It came right up to the boat, had a nose around and then swam off again. Then it came back again, and went off again and came back again, so I thought I ought to get a couple of pictures.”
He filmed a video, which you can see at theherald.com.au along with more photos.
Mr Grant said it was a big shark, more than three metres long, and seemed more curious than anything.
He was out by himself in his 4.5-metre boat, sitting about about 300 metres south of Wangi Wangi Point when the shark appeared.
The 41-year-old said he used to “ski there all the time behind the boat on surfboards” when he was a kid.
“It’s got me beat why no-one’s been bitten,” Mr Grant said. “I won’t get bitten because I won’t go in any more.”
Southern Cross University marine ecologist Daniel Bucher said after viewing the video and the photos that the shark was almost certainly a white shark, known scientifically as Carcharodon carcharias.
Dr Bucher said white sharks did not normally live in estuaries, but there had been a number of sightings of big white sharks in Lake Macquarie in recent years. Without clear photos to compare body markings, it was impossible to say whether one shark was being sighted repeatedly, or there was more than one. The area where Mr Grant saw this shark is not far from when a father and son, Stephen and Andrew Crust, were confronted by a 3.5-metre great white, which gave their six-metre boat “a good shove” off Pulbah Island in December 2015.
The month before, a NSW Department of Primary Industries shark expert, Dr Vic Peddemors, told the Newcastle Herald there were at least two great white sharks enjoying themselves in Lake Macquarie, if not more, at the time.
In 2014 the Herald published footage of a white shark at Murrays Beach, just south of Pulbah Island on the eastern shore of the lake.