A swimmer at a popular Sydney beach has unwittingly come within metres of a grey nurse shark while floating on his back in shallow water.
The close call was shown in remarkable drone footage shot above Maroubra Beach on Tuesday evening around 6.30pm, a time of day sharks are more likely to come close to shore to feed.
In the video a man wearing boardshorts can be seen facing the beach in waist-deep water as the tide carries him towards a two-metre long grey nurse shark – which he does not see.
A wave pulls him back and drops him to a spot where the shark is just over his right shoulder.
A swimmer at a major beach has unwittingly come within metres of a big shark while floating and walking in shallow water at Maroubra
A wave carried the man to within metres of the shark, which looked uninterested in him
The self-confessed ‘shark lover’ who shot the drone footage, Tom, told Daily Mail Australia the shark ‘hung around in the shallows for about an hour’ near surfers.
Tom, who was shark-spotting with his drone, wasn’t worried for the swimmer.
‘Those are grey nurse sharks, they’re big beasts that look scary but they’re docile.’
He said the shark caught on film was feeding, but was interested in fish.
Tom says he has swum ‘many times’ with grey nurse sharks in Sydney and broader NSW and while it’s annoying if they’re nearby, it’s not unsafe.
‘If it was a great white shark, different story.’
While attacks by grey nurse sharks, which are an endangered species, are uncommon, they do happen.
Grey nurse shark attacks are rare but they do happen. The species is endangered
In July 2019 a man was bitten on the torso, leg and stomach while swimming from Shelly Beach to Manly in Sydney at 5.30am.
He survived the attack.
Tom claimed he had once seen ’18 grey nurse sharks in less than two metres of water’ at Seal Rocks.
‘Some of them were in less than a metre, their bellies were hitting the sand and their fins were out of the water.’