When a great white shark bumped into spear fisherman Johan Potgieter off the Cape coast in South Africa, he reacted as almost anyone would have: he freaked out just a little bit. And while we've explained before that screaming is not the best thing to do during a shark encounter, Potgieter actually handled the situation quite well.

For starters, you'll notice that even when he had reached the surface, Potgieter continued to look down. Knowing where a shark is in relation to you will give you time to react in the unlikely situation that it gets aggressive. He also managed to lightly prod the curious predator, rather than stabbing it with his spear. 

"You don't need to punch hard during an encounter," shark photographer Chris Knight tells us. "Seeing as they are apex predators, it is very rare that other animals touch them. By you giving them a small nudge, they realise that you're something that they should be wary of. Remember, you are not on the menu."

It's likely that the murky, algae-rich water is partly to blame for the shark's too-close-for-comfort appearance, and while Potgieter remarks that the shark "almost ate him", we assure you this was more an investigative move than an attempt at landing lunch. 


Top header image: Terry Goss/Flickr