A terrifying photo shows a 6ft oceanic shark stalking a man rowing alone across the Atlantic.
Jack Jarvis, a 28-year-old soldier from Hampshire in the UK, rowed from Portugal to Florida for 111 days to raise money for brain tumor charity Braintrust in honor of his grandfather . He is believed to be the only person in the world to have rowed this particular route solo.
Jarvis said Newsweek that while at sea he “saw it all”, including sharks, marlins, dolphins, whales and flying fish. But a shark took a particular interest in him and his boat.
“I saw his fin and that excitement just washed over me,” Jarvis said. He immediately entered the cabin to grab his camera and bravely dipped his hand in the water to take a picture.
“He was about six feet from the boat … he was backing up and then, in a burst of speed, was getting closer to the boat again,” he said.
It continued for about 10-15 minutes before it “did a little flop” and completely disappeared into the depths.
Oceanic whitetip sharks are considered one of the most aggressive sharks towards humans. According to the Florida Museum, which maintains the official record of shark attacks, white tip sharks are prone to attacking humans at sea. They have been known to attack survivors of shipwrecks and aircraft and are suspected several unsolved human deaths.
Jarvis said he wasn’t scared of the shark at all, but rather excited about the unique experience.
“How many people in the world would say they’ve seen a shark? Not many,” he said. “I was in the boat so I knew if he got a little too close for comfort I could always put my hand up. And let’s remember, humans kill hundreds of sharks every year and I think the sharks probably kill less than five people a year. … So if anyone was going to be scared, it should have been the shark.”
Oceanic whitetip sharks are found in oceans around the world, but they are an endangered species. They are at risk of being accidentally caught in commercial fishing nets and being hunted for their fins.
They can grow up to 11 feet and are so called because of the white color of their fin tips.
Jarvis said watching the shark stalk his boat, the white tips “were really evident”.
It wasn’t just the shark that Jarvis had a close encounter with.
“I also saw a few whales, but they always seemed very busy. So they swam alongside me and left right away…it was hard to get a good photo,” he said.
He said flying fish also frequently flew near his boat at night, leaving scales everywhere.
“They were hitting me and even attacking me directly, which was always a surprise,” he said. “There were lots of birds too. I was always amazed by them, wondering where the hell did they come from? I was 1,000 miles from any land.”
Jarvis ended his trip about two weeks ago when he arrived in South Florida. He raised approximately $80,789 for Braintrust, surpassing his goal of $65,000.