Rick Anderson must put on an oxygen tank, place a regulator in his mouth, and plunge into the ocean off the shore of Nobbys Beach in New South Wales, Australia, to visit his friend.
A 6-foot female Port Jackson shark is Anderson’s best friend. Anderson recognizes her despite the fact that she doesn’t have a name.
Anderson claims that she always recognizes him.
In 2017, Anderson told The Dodo, “I started playing with her around seven years ago when she was just a pup about 6 inches long.” “I approached her slowly so as not to startle her, then softly patted her, then cradled her in my hand and spoke soothingly to her via my regulator once she became accustomed to me.”
“In the first season she was here, I did this every time,” he explained. “Over the seasons, she began to remember me and would swim up to me for a touch and a snuggle. She quickly became used to me, to the point that she will swim up to me and tap my legs until I stretch my arms out for her to lie on for a cuddle as I pass by.”
“Most first-time divers can’t believe what they’re seeing,” he continued. “I don’t feed her or any of the other sharks I play with; I treat them as if they were dogs.”
Although Port Jackson sharks are far smaller than great white sharks, any shark can elicit dread, especially because sharks are frequently misrepresented in the media as being deadly to humans. People, on the other hand, are significantly more dangerous to sharks, with an estimated 73 million sharks killed each year.
Anderson, who has been scuba diving for over 30 years and owns a dive school, thinks that his connection with the Port Jackson shark would help people become less afraid of sharks.
“The most common misunderstanding about sharks is that they are all mindless murderers waiting for humans to enter the ocean so they can be devoured,” Anderson added.
Anderson dives with a variety of sharks, including banjo sharks, grey nurse sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, and even the occasional great white shark.
“I have always felt comfortable swimming with these animals,” he said.
Anderson is always willing to snuggle a shark, and even after all these years, his pal, the Port Jackson, can’t seem to get enough of him.