Port Lincoln diver has close encounter with shark

PRIZE: Darryl Carrison holds up some green lip abalone caught while diving a short time after his close encounter with a shark. Photo: supplied

PRIZE: Darryl Carrison holds up some green lip abalone caught while diving a short time after his close encounter with a shark. Photo: supplied

Local abalone diver Darryl Carrison has shared how he fended off a great white shark while working in waters off the Eyre Peninsula recently.

Mr Carrison was diving for abalone off Sceale Bay on a day with a large swell and murky water limiting visibility.

Working his way to 100 feet from the surface he got to a rock where he travelled along to the top and jammed his cage, about 40 feet from the surface.

Mr Carrison said his first visitor was a seal pup who hung around him and seem agitated, even trying to get into his cage a couple of times, which he had chalked up to the murky water.

He he soon came across a much more unwelcome sight.

"As I got to the end of the rock, I noticed parallel and slightly behind me to the left was a great white," he said.

"I tried to relax as best I could because in the past I noticed when you get nervous they notice you a bit more."

Mr Carrison said the shark had its mouth open, "more open than I've ever seen before", and it started to circle around him as he laid on his back to let the tide take him back to his cage.

After getting back to the cage he tried to swim up to turn his shark shield on, located six feet from behind his umbilical, during an attempt his weight belt unclipped which also caused his regulator to pull out of his mouth.

Mr Carrison said the shark had circled him at least four times before he swam up to get to get to the shark shield.

The shield had gone flat so he waited crouched inside his cage for about five to ten minutes.

He said after not noticing the shark for a while he went to move his parachute when he received a scary surprise.

"I moved the parachute to get out of the water and the shark was about an arm's length away," he said.

"I didn't know what to think, it proceeded to come towards me and went straight up and even with the whoosh of its tail I could feel its power."

Mr Carrison said during his dive he picked up a steel rod about three feet long which was jammed in the cage.

After getting the rod tangled in seaweed on the first attempt he made contact with the shark.

"In 30 years of diving I had never found a piece of steel rod," he said.

"I hit it two feet from the tail, enough to leave a mark but with the size of the shark it felt like hitting a brick wall."

After noticing the return of some groupers to the area and not seeing the shark since hitting it, he moved into shallower water.

When he got to about six feet he filled his tank with air and climbed onto the cage, calling for the boat to pick him up, which it did a short time later.

Mr Carrison said his next dive was in very clear water but he was "jumping at the sight of anything in the water".

He said after about 30 minutes he was able to relax and get to work.

"I've had them closer but that one was different," he said.

"The way it acted, the way it looking at me...I never felt I was going to be attacked by the other ones."