It’s one thing to see great white sharks swimming, and there have been remarkable and terrifying photographs of sharks attacking seals and even swimming near people on kayaks, but this video will make you jump out of your seat.
It was shot by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution back in October 2013, but it’s being released now, naturally, because of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel (the show will air on Discovery Monday at 9 p.m). The video is from Guadalupe Island in Mexico, 150 miles west of the Baja peninsula, and it shows a nearly 7-foot long submersible, which the institute calls REMUS “SharkCam, being attacked by sharks as if it were a dolphin or a human.
Because the device has six cameras, it catches video of the attacks at incredible angles and in such tight focus.
“Hitchcock would have been very proud,” said Roger Stokey, a senior engineer at Woods Hole who was on the boat when the attack occurred.
On its website, the Woods Hole institute says: REMUS SharkCam is a specially outfitted REMUS-100 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with video cameras and navigational and scientific instrumentation that enable it to locate, track, and film up close a tagged marine animal, such as a North Atlantic white shark (great white). The vehicle is pre-programmed to home in on a signal from a transponder beacon attached to the animal at depths up to 100 meters (330 feet) and in a variety of patterns and configurations.
It’s been a relatively quiet summer as far as shark news on the Cape goes (the first great white of the summer was finally tagged on Aug. 1). But as this video shows, quiet shark news is not a bad thing.
“We had a vague notion something was going on,” Stokey said. “We were absolutely dumbfounded. We thought it was a machine and the sharks would have had no interest. There are a lot of fish that size down there. Clearly they thought it was something good to eat.”
His final point was telling. “If this was a seal, it would have bled out. But they couldn’t kill SharkCam. I do not understand how that vehicle survived.”