This is the heart-pounding moment a wildlife photographer captured a great white shark emerging from the waves to devour a helpless seal pup.
Photographer William Buchheit captured the 12-foot white hunting off the coast of ‘Seal Island’ in False Bay, South Africa.
Fearsome great whites seen exhibiting the striking hunting technique off South African waters have been known to reach speeds of 40 miles per hour.
The apex predators can propel themselves above the surface of the water as they speed upwards to hit their surprised prey before it even knows it’s being stalked.
William, 44, said: “This set was captured on an eight-day adventure called ‘The Great White Trail’, offered by Chris Fallows’ company Apex Shark Expeditions.
“For sheer adventure and natural wildlife activity, False Bay was easily the best location on the trip.
“There’s just something special about being wide-awake at 5:30 am, preparing to watch great whites hunt seals in the golden light of dawn.”
Sea lsland in False Bay is hoe to 65,000 seals making it the perfect hunting ground for the great white sharks that inhabit the island’s waters.
False bay is the only place in the world that great white sharks routinely breach completely out of the water while hunting seals.
William, from Spartanburg, South Carolina, US, added: “For the 65,000 seals that live there, the island serves as home base for the potentially-fatal game of tag they play with the sharks daily.
“In our first two days in False Bay, we witnessed about 15 distant predations, but none close enough to the boat to photograph. Then, about 8:00 on the third day, the magic moment finally arrived.
“About 200 feet from the boat, a juvenile seal leaped several feet into the air. For several seconds, the shark remained unseen, then the 12-foot white torpedo lunged for its prey.
“He missed the seal on his first attempt, chomping at the salty sea air as if posing for an action picture.
“The pup surfaced a few feet away as all of the predator’s massive weight splashed back into the sea.
“A moment later, the white beast launched from the depths, this time with breathtaking focus and precision.
“It rocketed so far out that only its tail was left in the water, the doomed seal pup thrashing around inside its vice-like jaws.
“With a trembling hand, I punched the review button on my camera and examined the two-dozen frames I’d taken.
“The first three had blurred due to the time it took the camera to autofocus on the predation.
“The fourth, fifth and sixth frames, however, were money shots. After I zoomed in to verify this, I took a deep breath, clenched my fist and smiled.“