15-foot great white shark shocks scuba divers above Florida Keys shipwreck: 'Get on the boat!'

Three months ago, Cody Wabiszewski traded in his desk job in Butler, Pennsylvania, for a boat in Marathon, Florida. The former aerospace engineer now works at a dive shop and spends his days off scuba diving off the coast of the Florida Keys.

"I guess the cubicle life wasn't for me. I'd rather be out on a boat every day," Wabiszewski told Fox News on Monday, noting that he recently got his captain's license.

The Florida resident was working on getting his advanced scuba certification with a group of divers — Chad Sawyer, Rima Dmitriew, Karen South, Valerie Sparks and Cody Wabiszewski — under the watch of Captains Skeeter and Michael with Captain Hook's Marina and Dive Center near the Florida Keys' Thunderbolt, a ship intentionally placed at the bottom of the ocean as part of the Florida Keys Artificial Reef Association project, when he had an unexpected encounter in the water.

"It's something you'd dream of — not something you'd expect with a deep dive."

- Cody Wabiszewski


While he was 70 feet below the ocean's surface, his friend tapped him on the shoulder and pointed out a large shadow that he soon discovered was a great white shark. The 15-foot shark circled the group as a school of fish surrounded it.

"It was really surreal how beautiful it was. There were so many fish," Wabiszewski described. "It's something you'd dream of — not something you'd expect with a deep dive."

It was the first time Wabiszewski had ever swam with a great white, and at one point, he said it was only about 15 feet away from the group.

"I wanted to go cage diving but doing it without a cage is more fun," Wabiszewski said. "You wouldn't expect it diving in 78-degree water in Florida. It was completely shocking ... so unexpected."


Florida resident Cody Wabiszewski shared a 3-minute video of an unexpected underwater encounter with a great white shark while diving 70 feet below the ocean's surface off the Florida Keys.  (Cody Wabiszewski)

The instructor motioned for the group to stay put and not make any sudden movements.

"Bubbles scare the shark," Wabiszewski explained. "I was trying to stay down to try and make it so the shark would stay in the area."

When he felt it was safe to do so, Wabiszewski pulled out his underwater camera and started filming. He shared the three-minute video on Facebook last week, collecting nearly 50,000 views as of Monday afternoon.

"In the Florida Keys, people only get footage of a great white under water once every three years or so ... people were super jealous," Wabiszewski said of his rare capture.

The video shows the divers eventually resurfacing — with the captain instructing, "Get on the boat! Get on the boat!"

"We almost got eaten," Wabiszewski joked with a smile. "We got the shark whisperer. He said he dives with sharks out in San Diego and they followed him here."


You can spot Wabiszewski's incredible sighting on his website.  (globalfishingreports.com)

Wabiszewski marked the location of the great white shark on his website GlobalFishingReports.com, a database he created to accurately track "where, when and how fish are being caught."


Now that he has more diving experience, Wabiszewski said he plans to explore the depths of the ocean even more. And he's hoping for another great white sighting.

"The shark showed no sign of aggression," he added. "It was just moderately curious."

However, Wabiszewski warned, out of all the sharks, the great white is the most unpredictable.

"Be careful and don't be stupid," Wabiszewski advised. "Make sure you're keeping distance, not approaching it."