A scientific team form Australia has returned form Chesterfield Reef, off Australia's Eastern coast, with a remarkable filmed record of the habits of several species of shark - and their attacks on expedition members.
SV Gannet files towards crew member
SV Bird flies past radar on ship
SV Crew on deck
SV Dolphins swimming along side of ship
SV's Ship passing over reef shallows as crewmen watch (2 shots)
LV Chesterfield Reef
SV Ship's anchor being lowered
SV (UNDERWATER) White-tipped reef shark swims close to diver & camera
SV (UNDERWATER) Shark attacks toward camera & diver (5 shots)
SV Dr. Ibara throws bait into water from reef
SV (UNDERWATER) Shark takes bait & struggles away (3 shots)
SV Bait being thrown into water
SV Shark takes bait & is dragged onto reef (2 shots)
SV Dr. Ibara with shark struggling on reef
SV (UNDERWATER) Bait in water
SV Shark pulled in towards reef, released bait and second shark snaps at it and Dr. Ibara attempts to grab it
SV (UNDERWATER) Shark takes bait & is pulled onto reef & thrown struggling into tidal pool (2 shots)
SV Sharks in tidal pool on reef
Initials ESP/1846 ESP/1916
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Background: A scientific team form Australia has returned form Chesterfield Reef, off Australia's Eastern coast, with a remarkable filmed record of the habits of several species of shark - and their attacks on expedition members.
The team was led by Dr. Richard Ibara, from Massachusetts University in the United States, and John Harding, who is compiling several documentaries on sharks and sea life. The expedition's film shows the persistence of sharks in trying to drive divers from the water.
This was the first trip made form Australia to the Chesterfield Reefs, which covers an area of 25 square miles (64 square kilometres). The reef is a coral outcrop teeming with sharks - part of French-owned territory 400 miles (643 kilometres) off Queensland, Australia.
One of the first sharks seen was a white-tipped reef shark amid schools of Red Bass and Dog Tooth Tuna in about 80 feet (24 metres) of water. Grey reef whaler sharks seemed surprised at the intrusion of divers and made repeated attacks on the swimmers. One shark charged the camera and missed biting the cameramen by inches.
Dr. Ibara tested the reactions of the sharks to food while in this agitated state. He used a nylon rope with a fish tied to it. The sharks flew at the bait and held to it with such tenacity that the sharks could be hauled on to the reef.
Results of the expedition are now being studied by scientists in Australia.
SYNOPSIS: A solitary gannet followed the scientific ship Coralita as it headed towards Chesterfield Reef off the Eastern coast of Australia. On board was a scientific expedition in search of sharks, but on their way they were accompanied by a large school of dolphins - more than fifty of them, the largest over nine-feet long.
As the ship approached Chesterfield Reef - a coral outcrop which covers twenty-five square miles - it had to pass over dangerous shallows in the uncharted waters.
The expedition was led by Dr. Richard Ibara of Massachusetts University, and John Harding who is compiling a documentary film on sharks. The scientific team was hoping to study the habits of the sharks, which are found in great profusion in the area of this reef.... In eighty feet of water they spotted white-tipped reef shark, which seemed more interested in the underwater intruders than the schools of Red Bass and Dog Tooth tuna nearby.
But a grey reef whaler shark was not as calm about the divers in its waters... The shark made repeated attacks. Once, charging the cameramen, the shark came within inches of biting him.
Dr. Ibara tested the reactions of the sharks while in the agitated states caused by the presence of the divers. A fish tied to a nylon rope was quickly seized - and gripped so hard the shark could be pulled all the way onto the reef.
Each time Dr. Ibara repeated this test, sharks immediately grabbed the bait and were landed while they tried to tear the fish free.
The sharks captured in this way were placed in tidal pools among the rocks on the reef. This aggressive behaviour of the sharks is one of the main areas the scientific team was investigating. When divers intruded into areas where the sharks gathered, the sharks showed their sensitivity by attacking almost anything in the water.
The sharks Dr. Ibara captured with his hookless line ware examined in the tidal pool. They regained their freedom when high tide once again covered the rocks.
The expedition has now returned to Australia where the results of their observations are being studied by a team of scientists.