By Samantha Grillo @_samanthagrillo
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Videographer / Director: Emil Pirzenthal
Producer: Jack McKay, Nick Johnson
Editor: Sonia Estal
Incredible footage shows the crew jumping into predator-infested waters to get up close and personal during feeding time.
Local skippers phoned diver Emil Pirzenthal, 49, about the dead whale carcass being feasted on 3km offshore in Scottsburgh, South Africa.
Emil, from Umkomaas, South Africa, and his friends Allen Walker, Anthony Grote and Rob Shepard set out to take photos of the event.
Four other scuba boats were already on the scene - but no one had taken a plunge into the dangerous waters.
However, Emil and his crew wanted a closer look.
Emil said: “I entered the water with snorkel gear and immediately a big Dusky shark tried to bite my leg.
“But a big Great White came in and the smaller sharks scattered - I was relieved to have such a big bodyguard.
“No one had ever tried to dive on a dead whale without a cage, but from what I had seen on my snorkel dive I was convinced it could be done.”
With only six to seven metres of visibility underwater, the group managed to capture incredible video footage and pictures.
“Once we all entered the water we saw two Great Whites, 20 plus Tiger sharks, more than 15 Bull sharks, and some Oceanic Black Tip sharks."
When Emil returned to his boat after his dive he realised the whale was drifting toward Scottburgh beach, which has shark nets.
Emil said: “I couldn’t imagine how many of the sharks would die in the nets, so I made a slip knot on rope and went back into the water.
“It was a bit difficult to convince the sharks to move over so I could make a loop over the whale’s tail.
“I had to move a 4.5m Great White out of the way - but eventually I got the rope secured, back to the boat, tied and dropped the anchor over the side.”
After receiving a message from local Marine Coastal Management, Emil attempted to move the carcass to keep the sharks safe from the nets on the beach.
He said: “I realised if I cut the anchor the whale would still end up in Scottsburgh Beach so I towed it out to sea.
“All I can say is that it was an awesome experience.”