The Great White Shark (Carcharadon carcharias – The Jagged Tooth one) has consumed and influenced every sector of my life. This incredible beast, has shown me an alien world, taught me humility, pride and respect. It has brought me together with the most incredible people, taken me across the globe, inspired me, frightened me, pushed me to my limits and shown me where my outer parameters really drift. It has never been friend or foe. It is, the Great White Shark, with no malice nor forgiveness.
My life with this animal began when at age twelve, I walked into a curio shop in Gordons Bay, which lies within, False Bay. The dried head of a young white shark, was on display and it was the most soul stirring thing I had ever seen. The shark was dead and gaunt with its mouth agape, yet in that macabre moment beyond its death, I could still feel the raw unknown of this species. I could feel the danger and power it controlled and I fell in love with it.
Not long after that, I became the youngest person in the world to catch a Great White Shark off my father’s boat. A few months later, I fell into the depths of a man’s world when my father, Theo Ferreira, began hunting the infamous Submarine, which is still by far the largest Great White Shark I have ever encountered, and I have worked with several thousand individuals. For Two years, we pursued her and hooked her, but never brought her in. The battles with this nemesis were frightening and almost deadly, for both man and beast. These accounts can be read in my book, The Submarine.
After school, I began working for the Shark Research Centre of the South African Natural History Museum. In 1990 I was a field officer and by 1995, I was Director of The South African White Shark Research Institute. In 1997, I established White Shark Projects and in 2008, White Shark Africa.
My journey with this species has been nothing less than life determining. I have worked with National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Nicolas Cage, Ace of Base, Michael Phelps, Sam Elliot and many more. I and my teams have accomplished world firsts. I was the first to place a camera on a free swimming Great White, the first to extract blood from a free swimming animal and we were the first to live capture the species without injury. I have tagged close to five hundred Great Whites, I wrote the first Population Dynamics paper on the species along the Southern African coastline and I have discovered a number of behaviours within the population. I have been a team leader and an expedition leader on three international research expeditions, lectured around the world and my work was honoured by The Royal Geographic Society.
This species has allowed me to see life and experience things that are part of people’s imaginations or nightmares. It has been an incredible and privileged journey, which has also allowed me to gain unique knowledge, which I am able to use in my writing, speaking and training.
Those who are afraid, stay at home, while those brave souls out on the plains of life, return from the hunt with great tales of adventure. – Craig A Ferreira