Pinellas charter captain pets great white shark in Gulf of Mexico

I've spent lots of time in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and have seen sharks several times, but they're usually small, and aren't very interested in getting near me (which is good!). I've definitely never been this close to a great white shark!

Captain Tyler Levesque was running a fishing charter about 65 miles off the coast of Pinellas on Thursday when he and his group had a close encounter with an 18 foot great white! In video taken by the passengers, you can see the shark biting the boat's engine, and repeatedly breaching the surface. The shark even got close enough for them to touch it! No one--including the shark--was hurt.

What a cool experience! I love sharks, and they're vital to the health of our oceans. I'd love to see one of these amazing creatures up close!


Photo: Getty Images