Great white shark sighting in Marathon Key

Diver gets in water to get close up picture

MARATHON KEY, Fla. – A group of shark divers expected to see several species of shark during their recent trip to the Florida Keys. But they were surprised to see a great white swimming just feet away from them on Sunday.

Bryce Rohrer, of Keys Shark Diving, was the captain of the boat that Guillaume Bauch and his friends were on. He expected they'd see hammerheads and other sharks that typically live along the South Florida coast, but great whites are much more rare to spot.

"It doesn't necessarily surprise me," Rohrer said. "I just think we're very lucky to get that privileged enough to get that shark to our boat. I know there are great whites here, but it's just a question or whether or not you can see them."

According to experts, great whites are rare finds off the South Florida coast because they usually prefer much colder water.

The shark that Bauch spotted was about 600 pounds and ten to 12 feet long. But instead of getting away, Bauch says curiosity and anxiety actually drove him closer to the wild animal.

He was lowered into a shark cage, made of bullet-proof glass, and was able to snap several clear photos.

Looking back now, Bauch said he doesn't feel like he's that crazy for free diving with a great white.

"I've already heard that through my friends on Facebook. Maybe or maybe not. And that's why I do so much with sharks because I want to prove to a lot of people that they're not that mean; they're not that dangerous. You just got to be careful with them and remember they're wild animals."

There have been four sightings of great whites in South Florida in the last three months, including one of the coast of Fort Lauderdale. Scientists say this is a new phenomenon. They think great whites are popping up during certain times of year to take advantage of Florida's climate.

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