When Dale Pearson saw a large figure thrashing around in shallow waters near his house in the town of Puertecitos in Baja California, Mexico, last month, he thought it would be a beached whale or struggling hammerhead shark, known to frequent the area.
He grabbed his camera phone and a friend with plans to save the struggling animal, but as they waded closer to the scene, they realized they were facing a much more powerful creature: A great white shark.
The shark appeared to be an estimated 14 feet long and was moving around in 3 feet of water, according to Pearson, a dive boat operator who has experience with shark research missions.
“It would come in to the shallows and lay there motionless, then it would move out again [swimming to] six feet of water, circle back in [to the shallows], come into another spot and lay there motionless,” Pearson told HuffPost.
As seen in the full video below, Pearson and his friend reacted like any normal adult would when faced with a great white shark ― with awe and a whole lot of F-bombs.
“That’s a f****** white shark,” Pearson says in the video. “Holy s***!”
After filming their encounter, Pearson uploaded the video to his company’s Facebook page, Pearson Brothers Winery, where it went viral.
Warning: The language in the video is explicit.
Pearson was able to position himself mere yards away from the shark, but he made sure to stay at a water level that would be too shallow for the shark to reach. He also made sure to stay behind the shark, knowing that it is very difficult for large sharks to move or swim backwards.
As seen in the video, the shark had a large open wound just behind its dorsal fin. Pearson explains in the video that the wound was likely caused by a strike from a boat propeller.
After watching the video, officials at the Marine Conservation Science Institute shared it on their Facebook page, explaining that “the injuries from the boat propeller would likely not kill the shark.”
“They are exceptionally tough with incredible healing ability,” the institute wrote this week in a post.
Pearson believes that the shark ventured in to the shallow waters in order to hunt for stingrays. Mark Domeier, marine biologist and president of the institute, agreed.
“White sharks are generalists (and scavengers) when it comes to diet,” Domeier wrote on Facebook. “In other words they will eat whatever they want at that moment!”
Pearson and his friend weren’t injured by the large shark during their venture, but they say they were attacked by stingrays. As seen in the video, Pearson’s friend limps out of the water after being stung. Peterson shared a clip of their bloody wounds at the very end.
According to Pearson, the shark wasn’t stuck, and swam in and out of the shallow water several times. The following day, it was nowhere to be found.
Pearson also offered a message to any curious locals in Baja California: “If you’re wondering if there’s great white sharks here in the Sea of Cortez the answer is absolutely.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified Dale Pearson as Dale Peterson.