A diver has been filmed off the coast of Egypt being engulfed in a ball of fish, all the while oblivious to the whale shark lurking behind him that the fish were trying to escape.
The diver, Tobias Sachs, was floating in the sea off Hurghada, a large beach resort town on the east coast of the African country, when a fellow diver caught the footage.
It shows him floating, being careful not to make too much movement as the small fish swarm around him in a mesmerising pattern of shapes centred around the diver.
According to fellow diver Reinhart Hoft, 59, also known as James, his friend was so hypnotised by the shimmering ball of fish forming around him that he did not initially notice the huge whale shark approaching behind him.
James, who is the manager of Blue Water Dive Resort, said other diving enthusiasts have since said they were jealous not to have seen the incident with their own eyes. Although scientists often swim into bait balls to take photographs and study them, it is extremely rare that a bait ball would form around a diver.
James said: “The school of fish was seeking protection from the whale shark by being near the diver.
“We have seen this behaviour before [bait balls forming], but not when a diver is involved.
“As usual, when a diver is yet to see something that is extremely exciting, we got the diver`s attention so that they could turn around [and see the whale shark].
“The guests who did not get to experience the event were mostly jealous and amazed.
“We are incredibly thankful to our guest shared this video, which helps us share the beauty of the Northern Red Sea that we get to experience every day.”
The footage was shot by Rene Thies, who said: “Tobias was surprised and didn’t want to move.
“This moment is a breathtaking situation in my film: the whale shark came and we all felt overpowered.
“I was so happy that I could record it because we hardly believe what had just happened.”
To be honest, it makes sense that Tobias was ‘surprised’ – who wouldn’t be a little puzzled to be engulfed in a big ball of fish who were scared of being swallowed by a huge whale shark?
We all know the message he was desperately trying to get through to the shark at that point: ‘Fish are friends. Not food.’