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CODY was scuba diving when he was tapped on the shoulder by his mate who pointed out large shadow. Soon they were being circled by a massive great white shark.
THREE months ago, Cody Wabiszewski traded in his desk job in Butler, Pennsylvania, for a boat in Marathon, Florida.
The former aerospace engineer now works at a dive shop and spends his days off scuba diving off the coast of the Florida Keys.
“I guess the cubicle life wasn’t for me, I’d rather be out on a boat every day,” Mr Wabiszewski told Fox News, noting that he recently got his captain’s license.
The Florida resident was working on getting his advanced scuba certification with a group of divers — Chad Sawyer, Rima Dmitriew, Karen South, Valerie Sparks — under the watch of Captains Skeeter and Michael with Captain Hook’s Marina and Dive Center near the Florida Keys’ shipwreck Thunderbolt.
It’s a ship intentionally placed at the bottom of the ocean as part of the Florida Keys Artificial Reef Association project, when he had an unexpected encounter in the water.
While he was 21 metres below the ocean’s surface, his friend tapped him on the shoulder and pointed out a large shadow that he soon discovered was a great white shark. The 4.5m shark circled the group as a school of fish surrounded it.
“It was really surreal how beautiful it was. There were so many fish,” Mr Wabiszewski described. “It’s something you’d dream of — not something you’d expect with a deep dive.”
It was the first time Mr Wabiszewski had ever swam with a great white, and at one point, he said it was only about 4m away from the group.
“I wanted to go cage diving but doing it without a cage is more fun,” he said. “You wouldn’t expect it diving in 78-degree (25.5C) water in Florida. It was completely shocking … so unexpected.”
The instructor motioned for the group to stay put and not make any sudden movements.
“Bubbles scare the shark,” Mr Wabiszewski explained. “I was trying to stay down to try and make it so the shark would stay in the area.”
When he felt it was safe to do so, Mr Wabiszewski pulled out his underwater camera and started filming. He shared the three-minute video on Facebook last week, collecting more than 53,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon.
“In the Florida Keys, people only get footage of a great white under water once every three years or so … people were super jealous,” Mr Wabiszewski said of his rare capture.
The video shows the divers eventually resurfacing — with the captain instructing, “Get on the boat! Get on the boat!”
“We almost got eaten,” Mr Wabiszewski joked with a smile. “We got the shark whisperer. He said he dives with sharks out in San Diego and they followed him here.”
Mr Wabiszewski marked the location of the great white shark on his website GlobalFishingReports.com, a database he created to accurately track “where, when and how fish are being caught”.
Now that he has more diving experience, Mr Wabiszewski said he plans to explore the depths of the ocean even more. And he’s hoping for another great white sighting.
“The shark showed no sign of aggression,” he added. “It was just moderately curious.”
However, Mr Wabiszewski warned, out of all the sharks, the great white was the most unpredictable.
“Be careful and don’t be stupid,” he advised. “Make sure you’re keeping distance, not approaching it.”
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