By Jack Williams
This incredibly rare footage shows how a bait ball of thousands of fish opted to engulf an unsuspecting diver – a protection method to save themselves from the giant whale shark lurking behind.
In the eye-opening footage – which has been enough to make viewers double take – diver Tobias Sachs can be seen floating in the blue waters as the tiny fish burst around him.
The scene is mesmeric, creating an aura around the diver that appears almost supernatural.
Bait balls form when small fish swarm in a tightly packed spherical formation about a common centre, but little did the diver know the group behaviour was a way to protect the fish from a whale shark floating in the waters of Hurghada, Egpypt.
According to diver Reinhart Hoft, 59, as is known as James, his fellow diver was so transfixed on the ever-shimmering bait ball that had formed itself around him that he did not initially notice the giant mammal lurking behind.
While divers have been known to swim into bait balls to take photographs and carry out research, footage of one building itself around a diver is extremely rare.
The footage was shot by diver Rene Thies, and is an event fellow underwater enthusiasts have since said they were jealous not to have experienced with their own eyes.
James, the manager of Blue Water Dive Resort, said: “The school of fish was seeking protection from the whale shark by being near the diver.
“We have seen this behaviour before [bait balls forming], but not when a diver is involved.
“As usual, when a diver is yet to see something that is extremely exciting, we got the diver`s attention so that they could turn around [and see the whale shark].
“The guests who did not get to experience the event were mostly jealous and amazemed.
“We are incredibly thankful to our guest shared this video, which helps us share the beauty of the Northern Red Sea that we get to experience every day.”
Rene, who filmed the moment, said: “Tobias was surprised and didn’t want to move.
“This moment is a breathtaking situation in my film: the whale shark came and we all felt overpowered.
“I was so happy that I could record it because we hardly believe what had just happened.”