In all my years on the water, I have never had something land unexpectedly on my deck. Unless you count a frisbee, or the occasional tipsy neighbor who saunters over uninvited from the dock party. I also don’t live in an area where terror lurks below the waterline. It’s a perk of living in the freshwater playgrounds of the Great Lakes, and I have immense gratitude knowing that nothing will bite, sting, or drown me when I jump in. In fact, the closest I’ve ever come to an underwater surprise was reeling in a mud puppy while fishing on Lake Nipissing (at the time, I was not aware freshwater lakes held salamanders. Turns out they do. Then it crawled up my friend’s arm…). Anyway, if you’re a saltwater boater your chances of a predatory encounter are much greater than us unsalted prudes.
Case in point- a boater in New Zealand was out fishing with pals when a 9-foot mako shark took a swan dive onto his foredeck. Ryan Churches, the owner of Churchy’s Charter NZ, was fishing off the coast of Whitianga on November 5th when he and his crew were loudly alerted to a new sailor on board — a very angro mako shark. Whitianga is about 70 miles east of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island and is a well-known fishing ground for professionals and amateurs alike.
In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Churches said the group was hunting for kingfish when the toothy sailor landed hard on the deck. Churches called the experience “bonkers,” and said it gave them “a hell of a fright,” which seems fitting when a 350 lb super predator drops from the sky.
There’s several ‘bleeps’ in the video footage, but we’ll give Churches and crew a pass on that.
“We were out at the Aldermans fishing with five customers on board winding a bait in and the mako took the bait.
“We were fighting it normally and it was jumping around. I told the customers ‘if it jumps in the boat get out of the way’.
As the shark struggled with its predicament, the fishermen became increasingly worried they might need to help free the shark, the skipper told The Herald.
That’s understandable, since mako sharks are considered an “aggressive predator,” even by shark standards, and is considered the fastest shark species on Earth with cruising speeds up to 31 mph and can burst up to 46 mph when chasing prey. Makos are also known to launch themselves out of the water when hunting, not unlike the haunting videos you see of Great White’s launching after seals.
They’re not a small fish either — makos can grow up to 12 feet in length and tip the scales at over 1200 lbs.
But all is well that ends well. According to Churches, “He got away safe. There’s nothing much we could do. We can’t go up the front to go near it because they go absolutely bonkers.
“We dropped the anchor down a little bit because it seemed to be holding it in place [on the boat]. He went absolutely bonkers again and pushed himself through the bow rail and slid back into the water.”
“I was trying to figure out ways of how to get it off if it didn’t slide off. I was thinking what the f*** do we do? But it all worked out.”