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Jeff Grocke, Abalone Diver

I have from a young boy had an affinity with the sea, and acquired a love for diving that still continues today. I have been professionally abalone diving for some 20 years. The majority of those years I have free dived without the protection of a cage unit. It wasn’t until 2 years ago after 3 White Pointer sightings over the years, and continued pressure from my family, I decided that perhaps I was “pushing my luck” and purchased a Shark POD*.

I was however, a little sceptical of the protection that the inventors claimed the unit to have, but my doubts were short lived after my fourth confrontation.

I was diving in approx. 25 feet of water for Blacklip Abalone when the swell built up, making it too uncomfortable to work “blacks” so I swam out to the drop off of approx. 45 feet. As I swam out, I caught sight of an 11 foot White Pointer swimming in towards me. I sat on the bottom and watched as he turned and swam along the face of me approx. 18 feet away, and then turned in toward me. I realized then that the battery was low, as the red light was on and remembered Mike telling me that fully charged, the protective electrical field is approx. 7 metres in diameter. How far was it when only half charged? The Shark kept coming straight at me, not rushing, but definitely curious. He hit the field approx. 10 feet away from me and unbelievably it was like he hit a brick wall. He turned tail and bolted leaving me in a wash. I sat on the bottom for a further few minutes but never caught sight of him again. I was that confident, even with a low battery, that I finished filling my bag and returned to the boat where my sheller was totally oblivious to the Shark.

*Shark POD is an obsolete product and no longer in production

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