He was just looking for the shark to get close-up footage of it, but little did he know, as soon as he caught up to it, he'd be getting up close and personal with the great white shark's jaws.
Although Greg Skomal has quite a bit of experience working with sharks, he'd never had an encounter as terrifying as the one he had with this great white shark before.
The events took place last week when Skomal was on a research trip for the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. A group of fishermen sent out an alert when they spotted several white sharks in Cape Cod Bay, so Greg, a shark expert, immediately got on his boat to see them up close.
Armed with just a stick and a GoPro, Skomal walked up to the pulpit of the ship to dip his camera in the water and get a few snaps of the shark, but he got more than he was prepared for. Lurking in those murky waters, the shark spotted the scientist and charged at him with its mouth wide open, ready to bite his head off. You can see it for yourself in the video above!
Greg Skomal's reaction to the shark's attack
This isn't the first time we're seeing a great white shark make such a huge leap out of the water, but this shark's terrifying five-meter jump is still pretty insane! Also, fun fact: this all happened off the coast of Cape Cod Bay, which is where the Jaws movies were shot.
The captain of the ship managed to capture the events, and the video spread like wildfire on social networks.
The shark's jaws got dangerously close to the scientist's feet. Greg Skomal tells the Boston Globe:
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some commotion and I looked straight down. I was looking down into the mouth of the shark because it was wide open. "It did rattle me a little bit to see this thing lunging up at me. I could clearly see its teeth and its gaping mouth.
The shark was acting in self-defense
What were the shark's intentions, though? According to Greg, there are two possible reasons for its behaviour. One of them is that it was acting in self-defense:
Perhaps bearing its teeth and jumping up was a way of protecting itself before it took off.
The alternate theory is that it most definitely intended to eat him, but Greg says:
It was in hunting mode. It interpreted me, my reflection, my shadow, my image—whatever it was—through the water’s surface as a potential prey item, and it lunged at me.
The marine scientist also says that this was easily one of the best experiences of his life. Skomal, who's watched the footage over and over again, says:
Not many people can say they’ve had a white shark lunge at them when they’re standing four feet above the water.
And he didn't for a second think those might be his last moments on Earth!