Marine Biologist Swims Alongside A Great White Shark In Jaw-Dropping Photos

sharks
Image via Instagram/Ocean Ramsey

This brave marine biologist hopes to spread awareness about the importance of sharks

A marine biologist is sharing some amazing photos and videos of herself swimming alongside a great white shark — and it’s not hard to see why the photos have gone viral. As a conservationist, she hopes to spread awareness about the important role sharks play in our ecosystem.

Ocean Ramsey is a marine biologist and conservationist based in Hawaii. After sharing several photos and videos of the great white shark encounter she recently engaged in, her Instagram account is now the talk of the town. (Ocean?)

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PHOTO BY @juansharks 😍😱🤭😳😍 Maybe my fav photo of me (@oceanramsey) and Shark ohana 🦈 of all time so far 😳😍😱 It’s so hard to choose, so many beautiful moments I am so eternally grateful for sharks please help save them. I am without words and at the same time I think I never stop speaking up for sharks, I am grateful beyond measure for my experiences and what they have taught me. This photo was taken yesterday off my home waters of Oahu, Hawaii when hey Shark I think I’ve met previously in Isla Guadalupe graced us with her big beautiful incredible presence 💙 I headed out with my team from @oneoceandiving (my ❤️ @juansharks ) and @mermaid_kayleigh @forrest.in.focus @camgrantphotography for a day I will never forget. I’ve been trying to get the bill re-introduced in Hawaii to ban the purposeful killing of sharks and rays and this just feels like the biggest sign to keep pushing forward for more protection for them. Shark populations around the planet are severely declined. They need protection from targeted shark fishing for shark been soup and sport fishing. Please speak up in your own community and help support international efforts. #helpsavesharks #savesharks #shark #greatwhiteshark #sharks #oceanramseyandgreatwhite #oceanramseygreatwhite PHOTO BY #JUANSHARKS #Sharkphotographer #Sharkarma #savetheocean #instagood Join me at my team to learn about sharks OneOceanDiving.Com @oneoceanresearch @oneoceanconservation @oneoceaneducation @oneoceanglobal @oneoceanhawaii @waterinspired New conservation benefit tiger shark biomimicry wetsuit by @xcelwetsuits #instagram #discoversharks #instagood #ocean #incredible #amazing #beautiful Photo by @juansharks 😘😍❤️🦈❤️

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“I am without words and at the same time I think I never stop speaking up for sharks, I am grateful beyond measure for my experiences and what they have taught me,” she writes on Instagram. “This photo was taken yesterday off my home waters of Oahu, Hawaii when hey Shark I think I’ve met previously in Isla Guadalupe graced us with her big beautiful incredible presence.”

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Disclaimer: I highly discourage people from purposely jumping in the water with great white sharks or tiger sharks or any large shark like a bull shark or a Galapagos, even smaller sharks are capable predators who need and deserve respect however they are not the mindless monsters they are portrayed as in the media as you can see. In my experience this is the most mellow #whiteshark I have ever had the privilege and honor of meeting. I have been working with great whites for over 10 years and with sharks in general for over 15 years full-time I work with sharks on a daily basis in a safety and research and conservation program. #saveSharks Sharks are being killed at a rate of 70,000,000 to 100,000,000 please help save sharks. They are Important for a healthy marine ecosystems, and they are beyond amazing 😍😍😍😍#SaveGreatWHITESHARKS !!! I LOVE SHARKS 😍😍😍😍😍 @juansharks @oneoceandiving @oneoceanresearch #helpsavesharks #savesharks #savetheocean #nodrama #lifesamazing #oceanramsey #oneoceandiving with @mermaid_kayleigh @forrest.in.focus @camgrantphotography @oneoceanconservation Going back in the water now #instagram #instanow #instaincredible #discoversharks #ocean #discoverocean #Repost from 2 days ago surveying sharks off #oahu with #oneoceanresearch and #oneoceandiving

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Ramsey says she’s been studying and working with sharks for over 15 years, and certainly doesn’t recommend that anyone just jump in the water with any type of shark — but especially larger ones.

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FREEDIVING WITH GREAT WHITE SHARK IN HAWAII 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍I’m clutching my hand to my heart in this video screen grab because I think my heart just stopped from pure joy, gratitude, happiness, amazement…..I LOVE SHARKS!!!!! and they are so much more incredible than most could possibly imagine!!!! I work with sharks all day everyday all around the world with @oneoceanresearch and @oneoceandiving Today off my home waters of #Oahu , #Hawaii : Freediving with this Gorgeous gentle giant who might be shark ID “Deep Blue” Who I’ve seen in Isla Guadalupe as well was absolutely magical. Deep Blue came up and brushed up against the boat, maybe she’s pregnant, maybe she’s itchy? Rough-toothed dolphins escorted her in the morning . Many of my team @oneoceandiving was there to share the experience and as myself and @juansharks @mermaid_kayleigh and @forrest.in.focus and @camgrantphotography headed out together at sunrise we never would’ve expected what an Incredible Shark we would meet, we spent the entire day with her till the sun went down. #HelpSaveSharks You’re so important for the ocean and so many people don’t know that it would be so sad that they would disappear before people get to experience and know them for their true beauty and importance. Learn about sharks join me and my incredible team in the water @oneoceandiving Off #haleiwa almost everyday as we study and survey shark populations and teach people how to interact in a respectful and safe manner ❤️🦈❤️ Photo from screen grab vid shot by my AMAZING seaster/One Ocean Safety Diver/Shark Specialist @mermaid_kayleigh #sharkoprah Written by @oceanramsey #greatwhitesharkhawaii #greatwhitesharkdeadwhale #deadwhalehawaii #greatwhitesharkoahu #sharks #shark #savesharks #helpsavesharks #discoversharks #discoverocean #oceanramsey #oceanramseygreatwhite #swimwithsharks #freedivingwithgreatwhite #girlswimmingwithgreatwhite #sharksinhawaii #oneoceandiving

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“[They are] capable predators who need and deserve respect however they are not the mindless monsters they are portrayed as in the media as you can see,” she writes. “In my experience, this is the most mellow #whiteshark I have ever had the privilege and honor of meeting.”

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#Jaws was a fictitious film whose poster kind of looks like this, so this is my effort at an Anti-Jaws type media piece @savingjawsmovie . I’ve been swimming with sharks my whole life and working professionally with them for over 15 years. There’s a challenge I have in my efforts, to find a balance between helping people to overcome their fear of sharks that often stems for fictitious demonizing media and instilling a healthy level of respect for sharks as very capable apex predators #ApexPredatorNotMonster not puppy (cause if you pet puppies often even puppies bite, actually a lot ;)). Having worked with sharks for so long I can fully appreciate what they are capable of because I have been rushed by sharks and had to deter them and I have had to leave the water and I have watched them actively predate and compete for space and have confrontations.  However, I’ve also had the most incredible moments of my life in the water with them where 99.9% of the time they cruise gracefully around and so long as I keep looking around and pay attention constantly and quietly and give respect and attention to the more dominant individuals and challenging juveniles on a CONSTANT bases I am treated as more or less an equal predator.  Never complacent, always respectful and adapting at every second to every movement. I reached the point long ago where I dedicated my life to conservation and I love it, I love educating people about sharks and introducing them to them in a professional guided situation through the program I co-founded @oneoceandiving where we also collect data @oneoceanresearch @oneoceansharks and help support conservation through @Oneoceanconservation and @OneoceanEducation and @Oneoceanglobal @Waterinspired @oneoceanhawaii and other with funds from @oneoceandesigns and diving I love studying shark behavior and body language and its an absolute pleasure to share that with people and help them to better appreciate sharks and I hope inspire them to help save them.  Check out http://HelpSaveSharks.Org for more ways to get involved. #Aloha #hawaii #greatWhiteHawaii #SaveTheOcean #ocean #discoversharks #oneoceanconservation #OneOceanDiving PHOTO CREDIT @juansharks ❤️

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Shark populations worldwide have been declining for years. Ramsey hopes her images with the great white will help shine a light on shark protection and the need for legislation against shark fishing and killing.

“There are currently no laws to protect sharks from being killed except for a ban on killing them for their fins,” she says. “And even that law has many loopholes.”

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I waited quietly, patiently, observing as she swam up to the dead sperm whale carcass and then slowly to me passing close enough I gently put my hand out to maintain a small space so her girth could pass. I know some people criticize touch but what some don’t realize is that sometimes sharks seek touch, she swam away escorted by two rough-toothed dolphins who danced around her over to one of my @oneoceandiving shark research vessels and proceeded to use it as a scratching post, passing up feeding for another need. I wish more people would have a connection with sharks and the natural world, because then they would understand that it’s not petting sharks or pushing them off to maintain a respectable space that is hurting sharks (because trust me if she didn’t like being pet she can handle and communicate 🦈) it’s the wasteful and cruel practice of grabbing and catching sharks to cut off their fins (which slowly kills them) for #sharkfinsoup in a process called #sharkfinning or the wasteful #sharkfishing or #sharksportfishing If it bothers you that I touched the shark please click on one of the hashtags above and leave them a negative comment first 😉 #HelpSaveSharks #SpreadAwareness #FinBanNow #bansharkfinning #Sharkfin Vid shot on my @gopro #gopro3000 #goproforacause out with @oneoceandiving with @juansharks ❤️ @mermaid_kayleigh 💙 @camgrantphotography ❤️ @forrest.in.focus 💙 @oneoceanresearch @oneoceanglobal @waterinspired @oneoceansharks @oneoceanhawaii @oneoceaneducation #savetheocean #sharktouch #touchingsharks #oneoceanteam #discoversharks #discoverocean #greatwhitesharkinhawaii #freedivingwithsharks #whitesharkhawaii #deadwhalehawaii #dolphinsandsharks #🤙🏽 #Hawaii #sharka 🤙🏽🦈

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Ramsey says sharks “crave touch” and connection, and that if more people understood that, perhaps less of them would feel inclined to catch them and cut off their fins.

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By @oceanramsey “What it’s like to lock eyes with a great white as it slowly and directly approaches me is a feeling I’ve been fortunate to experience many times before but how’s the rough toothed dolphin escort too 😱❤️🦈❤️ I can’t say enough about the importance of sharks for healthy marine ecosystems, for the ocean, we need sharks and yet, perhaps because of the negative and inaccurate way they are portrayed in mass media many people do not care that they are being killed at a rate of 70,000,000-100,000,000 every year! What’s worse, they are killed mostly just for #sharkfinsoup or for #sharkfishing as #sharksportfishing I would encourage you to take a look at the above hashtags and see the cruelty and waste and compare it to this reality of peaceful and respectful coexistence. #helpsavesharks #savetheocean I do not encourage people to do this. I’ve been working with sharks for over 15 years, over 30 species including white sharks all around the world. They are #apexpredatornotmonster not puppies…but this was the gentlest grandma great #whiteshark ive ever met ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Deepest gratitude for my team and the incredible shot I will cherish forever @camgrantphotography Freediving this morning with @oneoceandiving #oneoceanohana @juansharks ❤️ @mermaid_kayleigh 💙 @forrest.in.focus 🌅🦈 @oneoceanhawaii @waterinspired @oneoceanconservation @oneoceaneducation @oneoceanglobal @travelcoffeeandsharks @discoversharks Fins @cressi1946 #tigersharkwetsuit by @xcelwetsuits 💙🦈💙 #greatwhitehawaii #divewithsharks #greatwhitesharks #oceanramsey #oneoceandiving #ocean #sharks #instagram #instagood #today #amazing #beautiful #madeofocean #teamoneocean “

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In terms of the ecosystem, sharks play a huge role. As “apex predators” (meaning these guys are at the top of the food chain), they maintain the species below them in the food chain and serve as an overall indicator for ocean health. According to Oceana.org, sharks help remove the weak and the sick while keeping the balance with their natural competitors to ensure species diversity.

According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Ramsey is actively trying to rally support for a measure to bathe n intentional killing of sharks. The legislation could be introduced in the state house later this month.

Ramsey hopes that sharks don’t disappear altogether before “people get to experience and know them for their true beauty and importance.”