By Tui Benjamin
This is the unbelievable moment a school of 100 hammerhead sharks swam within 10 metres of a group of divers in an incredibly rare sighting.
Ric Morgan captured the amazing footage on a head-mounted GoPro camera while diving at Fish Rock Cave in South West Rocks, New South Wales, Australia, on Monday (October 30).
The 66-year-old, a dive master with South West Rocks Dive Centre, said the rarely-witnessed phenomenon was a “once in a lifetime experience” as there are only a handful of locations worldwide where the animals congregate in such large numbers.
He said while the predators knew he and the 12 other scuba divers present were there they did not alter their behaviour as they swam past and he did not feel threatened.
Ric, from Terrigal, New South Wales, said: “We do occasionally see schools of hammerheads around this time of year, but you still need to be very lucky to spot them – and especially so many.
“All the divers were ecstatic and realised how lucky they were to see such an event.
“We knew they were hammerheads right away as we were hoping to see some and had been seeing them on previous dives, but we were very surprised to see so many.
“Seeing a school of hammerheads this big is a once in a lifetime experience for most divers.
“There are very few dive spots in the world where schools of hammerheads congregate like this.
“I’ve seen plenty of hammerheads previously, but it was amazing to see so many and so close.”
Fish Rock Cave, which runs 125 metres through small island Fish Rock, is home to its own unique ecosystem with a huge variety of fish life.
The 100-strong school came within 10 metres of the group as they cruised on the current – with the diving conditions in the cave on Monday described as “magic”.
Ric said he watched the predators swim close to them for about 15 minutes in total before the school moved away.
Most species of hammerhead considered harmless to humans apart from great hammerheads, which can be dangerous due to their size although few attacks have ever been recorded.
The largest varieties can grow up to six metres long and weigh up to 170kg.
Ric added: “The sharks definitely knew we were there but didn’t change their behaviour – they don’t act threatening towards scuba divers at all.”