Swimming with sharks is on many a bucket list. Getting headbutted in the process ... not so much. This might be the ultimate boop.

Diver Michael Dornellas was filming some local marine life off Tiger Beach in the Bahamas when a lemon shark decided to get as up close and personal as possible: it smashed, nose first, right into Dornellas's face.

"The shark broke my mask and smashed it against my face. I’ve been hit by sharks before, but never in the face," Dornellas tells the Express.

The close-up encounter is a good reminder to always survey your surroundings when you're in shark territory. This particular animal is known to be blind in one eye, but that doesn't mean it wasn't aware of the diver's presence in the water. Thanks to an impressive electrosensory system, sharks don't have to rely on sight to find their way around. Still, Dornellas handled the situation well by staying calm.

“She wasn't trying to bite me or be aggressive," he explains. "She didn't see me as much as I didn't see her. After the collision, she took off – I think I scared her really badly, so I felt bad.” 

Cruising the world's subtropical waters, lemon sharks can reach an impressive ten feet  (3.3m) in length. The animals are inquisitive by nature, but they're not typically considered a danger to humans. Of course, like any ocean predator, the sharks can become aggressive when threatened.  

"Once I felt the impact I swam to the surface to fix my mask and gather myself a little bit," recalls Dornellas. "But as soon as I'd fixed my mask I went back down and kept diving – it's what I love to do."

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Top header image: Doug Finney, Flickr