The rarely seen mating ritual of Great White Sharks has been described in vivid detail by one of the few human beings to have actually seen it taking place.
Since the release of Jaws in 1975, the Great White Shark has entered the popular imagination as the ultimate ocean predator.
But despite 45 years of obsessive discussion about the mighty ocean killer, surprisingly little is known about the animals.
The ocean masters’ mating habits, for example, are an almost complete mystery.
Fisherman Dick Ledgerwood is one of only two people ever to witness the deadly apex predator mating.
While the once-in-a-lifetime sighting took place over 20 years ago, it is only now this week that he has decided to tell his story to the world.
In November 1997 Dick took his boat, the Shirley B, out from Dunedin in New Zealand, heading for Port Chalmers to buy fuel.
About seven miles into the journey, at Sawyers Bay,his mate Roy spotted “something white” in the water.
When they pulled closer, he saw a bizarre sight: “It was two sharks wedged close together, and they were just revolving round and round, very, very slowly”. Neither Dick nor his mate had ever seen anything like it.
They stopped the boat’s engines and watched in silence.
The two monster sharks were “locked together” in the shallows, where the water was little more than 12 feet deep.
The sharks seemed oblivious to the 100-foot boat drifting slowly towards them. At on point they were just 30 feet away.
“They just carried on with what they were doing,” Dick told the Guardian.
“They were … locked together,” he said, “and just revolving in slow circles,”
The “show revolutions” of the sharks took roughly 10 seconds as they remained clamped together. The sharks remained “in one spot. Rolling and rolling and rolling,”
He says some people didn’t believe his strange story: “I honestly think some people thought we were seeing things, but we definitely weren’t, because we turned back to go and watch, to see what it was.”