Dangerous Reef, Neptune Islands, South Australia, 1974 - ABC American Sportsman challenged Peter to go diving for the first time with real great white sharks. He couldn’t say no.
Pictured here Peter is headed down and later described the experience as “bobbing alone in a flimsy cage in the frigid sea, tumbled about like dice in a cup.”
ABC Sportsman’s boat and crew – Peter’s first memories were that he was “blinded by blood and nauseated by the taste of fish guts, whale oil, and putrid horse flesh.”
Peter with Rodney Fox, a miracle survivor after being attacked by a great white shark and badly bitten around his chest and arm at the age of 23, was the guide for this dive trip.
Stan Waterman, lead underwater photographer for this trip was well known and highly experienced for his classic shark movie Blue Water, White Death
Wendy reading on the ships hull – in those days women were not overtly welcomed to join the divers, but she would be the only one to see the shark cage rope caught in the sharks mouth.
Peter and the ABC Sportsman team preparing for a dive in the shark cages
Peter going down into the icy waters near the end of the Earth.
Peter could see rows and rows of spare teeth buried in the gum tissue, each tooth a holstered weapon waiting to be summoned forward to replace a tooth lost in battle.”
Below the surface the length of rope drifted into the sharks gaping mouth and got caught between its teeth; that rope was Peter’s lifeline.
The shark circles the cage – and sensing alarm or entrapment, it suddenly seemed to panic and started violently shaking the rope and with it Peter inside the cage
While all this was going on, the crew and cameramen were transfixed, so Wendy was the only one to see that the rope was caught; she rushed down to pull it free.
Peter emerges from the experience shaken AND exhilarated by the beauty of the powerful creature that was just inches away from possibly killing him
The excitement is over, the great white is gone, and the shoot is wrapped. Finally, Wendy gets a chance to check out the shark cage.