Story of the Man Who Befriended a Great White Shark-Fiction!
Summary of the eRumor: A series of pictures, sometimes in a
PowerPoint presentation, of close encounters between a man and a great
white shark. The eRumor says its the story of Australian fisherman
Arnold Pointer who once freed a great white shark from a fishing net and
the shark has followed him around ever since.
The Truth: The pictures are authentic, although collected
from various sources, but the story that accompanies them is a
fabrication. There is no real story of an Australian fisherman whose
act of kindness developed a friendship with a great white shark. The
article referenced in the eRumor as being from "Le Magazine des Voyages de
" was an April fools joke
Let's start at the beginning.
First, the two pictures of the kayak being followed by a great white shark
are real. They were taken off the coast of South Africa by
award-winning photographer Thomas P. Peschak.
Peschak explains on his website at
www.thomaspeschak.com that the pictures are the result of research as
to why great white sharks were congregating in shallow water off some of
South Africa's swimming beaches. In order to observe the sharks up
close the scientists tried using kayaks. The sharks' curiosity
brought them close, but without apparent threat to the researchers.
The picture of the shark following the kayak has circulated widely on the
Internet along with speculation that it was Photoshopped or faked.
Peschak said he snapped the photo while hanging off the tower of one of
the research vessels and it was later published in Africa Geographic.
The photographs of a man apparently touching a great white shark are from
Michael Scholl, founder of the White Shark Trust (www.whitesharktrust.org)
in South Africa. The trust offers opportunities for field research
for those interested in great white sharks. That includes first-hand
encounters with sharks that are lured to the research boats. Some of
the sharks are known to curiously hang around and allow themselves to be
The final picture of the leaping shark is a frame from the BBC television
series Planet Earth.
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet: