MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The beauty of the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico on January 24, 2016, inspired shark hunter Lance Williams to grab his camera instead of his spear. He never imagined he’d come face to face with a fearless shark considered one of the most dangerous predators for humans.
“I just recoiled my feet in and all I had was the camera. I just shoved the camera at the shark, and right at the last second he veered off,” said Williams. “He got between me and the boat, and at that point, there was that one second where I thought it was a mako. For a split second I thought this thing is so big this could be a white shark.”
It turned out to be a seven to eight hundred-pound mako shark.
“This big guy was just up from the depths, right on my fin, and he came he did kind of a quick you on me, and I said, ‘This guy is about to bite me. Dear Jesus, save me!’” Williams said with a laugh. “And then he did. He curved around, and that’s when I was able to yell ‘Send me a gun. You guys gotta send me a gun.’”
His buddy threw him a gun, but Williams didn’t catch it.
“I look behind me, the gun is just sinking off behind me into nothing,” Williams said. “The shark is here between me and the boat. I just made the call to go for the gun. I dove down, and as I began my descent and abandoned the surface to get the gun, I saw the big shark angling on me, and I just kicked as hard as I could. I got the gun at the last second. I was able to extend and keep the shark off of me and at that point everything just got really cool. The shark just started working with us. We were swimming.”
Williams made it back on the boat, but he couldn’t resist going back in to rendezvous with the massive creature.
Said Williams: “I just jumped in, jumped right on top of him.”
The mako, very docile, allowed Williams to touch him and divers to get amazing up-close footage. All that changed when they decided to feed him a 40-inch barracuda.
“I had been eye to eye with this shark for approximately 20 minutes — just looking at him dead in the eye as he would come by me, and just watching his eye move as he would pass. It was like we had an understanding,” Williams said. “(After we fed him the barracuda) he had a different look, so I had a sense he was going to take a shot at me. As he came and turned I just extended the gun; gave him a warning pat. He turned and snapped. I said it’s time to go.”
“I know it’s a shark. I know it would eat me if it was given the chance, but in that moment it just felt like a bit of a bond and so I let it live. I let it swim,” Williams said.
If given another chance, Williams wouldn’t promise he’d let him go next time.