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January 1998 Vol. 13, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Scooter Eater and Other Bad Dudes

from the January, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A scuba diver needed 20 stitches but escaped with his life after a head-on encounter with a great white shark in 120 feet of water near Albany in Western Australia on November 10.

Keith Hulkes said the shark surprised him by taking his three-foot-long bright yellow scooter in its jaws. The shark’s teeth gashed his arm as it passed.

“There was this massive bump. I thought it was a seal or a dolphin,” the 42-year-old Hulkes said. “Then I saw it; it was almost as big as a school bus.”

When the great white started swimming back toward him, Hulkes drove the scooter into the shark’s nose, then made for the surface. His haste to get out of the water created the danger of decompression sickness, so his diving partner, who was waiting in the boat, took him to another location, where he spent 45 minutes in the water decompressing properly.

“I would have preferred the bends to getting back in the water in the same spot as the shark,” Hulkes said.

On November 26, on the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast, a spearfisherman free-diving off the charter vessel Kanimbla failed to surface from a dive at Saumerez Reef, 180 nautical miles northeast of Gladstone. Sharks are suspected.

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