My hero-dom is short lived, Mark. Sorry to disappoint you. My niece dived with this shark and her dive buddy took the photo. I dived with many sharks in PNG, but not this one. And if someone got bitten by a grey nurse, they probably asked for it. I've just read the article - it was off Manly Beach. The guy was swimming in the dark with friends. I think there are nastier predators to worry about in our waters. What ever happened to "never swim in the dark"?
The "grey nurse shark" is the first species of shark I ever saw. I was only 6 or 7 years old and was mesmerised by its massive size and razor-sharp teeth, but also kind of terrified - it was the stuff of nightmares to a little kid. That was at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney, and they had an aquarium with sharks and other marine creatures. But as I grew up I would occasionally see them at the beach, most often at this one (North Avoca Beach), out beyond the breakers. I remember being told to "count the fins" if I ever encountered a shark, and if there were two (dorsal) fins, or three including the long tail breaking the surface of the water, then it was a grey nurse and therefore harmless! Any fear I had of them had long-since-passed, and my siblings and I were water babies and totally fearless of anything other than being dumped by the odd humongous wave. Being shark bait never occurred to us. Despite its fearsome appearance and strong swimming ability, it is a relatively placid and slow-moving shark with no confirmed human fatalities. That's not bad for an animal that's related to the great white shark Carcharodon carcharias. To quote my niece who dives with these sharks regularly... "they are so placid, big and scary looking, but the old Labrador of the sea." This is a beautiful and fascinating species, and the reference links provide tons of information. Full credit goes to Byron Diver of DIVE Imports Australia, Erina, New South Wales, Australia, for this spotting and photo. Thanks, Byron.