Most people wouldn’t dream of going anywhere near a Great White Shark, and yet shark conservationist Ocean Ramsey has no problem swimming with the deadly predators and even hitching a ride with them, in her efforts to prove they’re not the monsters films like Jaws made them out to be.
27-year-old Ocean Ramsey got the nickname “shark whisperer” after photos and video of her petting 17-foot sharks went viral. The world is just discovering this brave young girl and her honorable cause, but Ocean has been traveling the globe swimming with many species of sharks to convince people they are not just mindless killing machines, for years. So far, she has come face to face with 32 species of sharks, including some of the most dangerous like Great Whites, tiger sharks and bull sharks. “I feel so fortunate that some of the greatest moments of my life have been diving with Great White sharks,” the blonde beauty said. ”It’s sad to think that the human race could be responsible for the extinction of such vital and beautiful animals.” She hopes her incredible experiences will grab the attention of the public and raise awareness to the plight of these fascinating creatures. A new study revealed that around 100 million sharks are killed every year, a rate 30 to 60 percent than sustainable. It’s estimated only a few thousands of Great White Sharks are left in the world’s oceans.
Photo: Juan Oliphant
“It’s difficult to express the incredible joy and breathtaking emotion experienced locking eyes with a great white shark. Watching the shark acknowledge and observe me, while I peacefully and calmly allowed it to swim towards me, and then experiencing it accepting my touch, allowing me to dorsal and tail ride,” Ocean said after her close encounter with a Great White, in the waters of Baja, Mexico, last year. Her friend, Juan Oliphant managed to take some photos and make a recording of the extraordinary encounter, which have recently gone viral online, capturing the imagination of millions around the world. “Once I was on the dorsal or tail I could hear the movement of the water flying past my ears and I realized we were probably moving two knots,”Ramsey remembers. “The connection felt as I repeatedly pet and hitched a ride on several of these sharks reminded me of my experience with horses.”
Photo: Juan Oliphant
Growing up in Hawaii and San Diego, Ocean Ramsey spent a lot of her time in the water, surrounded by marine wildlife. She is an experienced free diver and can hold her breath for an impressive five minutes and forty five seconds, which apparently is more than enough to get acquainted to some of the world’s most feared creatures. ”There is an instinctive fear, knowing what the animals are capable of, but it’s hard to describe what it’s like to be in the presence of such a magnificent animal,” she said
Ocean is convinced that movies like Jaws have manipulated a lot of people into perceiving sharks as monsters, and that the media continues to do that with inaccurate news reports. She hopes her experiences will change people minds, as “just showing these animals swimming around not biting or eating anything, as they are probably 99 percent of the time, isn’t enough to convince people.” At the same time, the brave 27-year-old points out that she’s not “advising that people go out and just jump in to the water with great whites, just as I wouldn’t recommend jumping into a yard with a strange dog. Sharks do need to be respected as wild animals and appreciated for their role as top predators in the ocean ecosystem.”
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