By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis
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Sharks as long as 4.5 metres swim inches from the cage bars in dramatic pictures.
Silke Schimpf captured the stunning images of her 76-year-old German father Kurt Ptaszynski as he experienced a cage dive for the first time near Seal Island in South Africa on May 26.
Silke guided her father – who is afraid of sharks after seeing the film ‘Jaws’ - into the water for a tense confrontation with seven great white mako sharks.
Tuna heads and sardine oil were used to bait the sharks to the surface - but none of the creatures were harmed.
It took just fifteen minutes before the sharks emerged and thrashed in the water.
Although the father and daughter team were safe in the sturdy metal Silke and her husband Rainier had to monitor Kurt’s reactions carefully due to his age.
Silke said: “The average age of people doing cage dives is 28. Elderly people often have breathing problems due to the tide dive suit and the pressure in the water and so we closely monitored his reactions and status of health.
“But he is fit and was quite relaxed and showed no panic - we were very impressed.”
Kurt said: "It was an awesome feeling. I still have a fear of white sharks but I now understand that a film is fiction and a real great white won’t act like a shark in Jaws.”
Silke admitted that even she is sometimes frightened despite being an experienced cage diver.
She said: “I have done about 1000 dives but sometimes I do get nervous.
“You are entering the habitat of apex predators – wild and untamed animals – and we are privileged to be allowed in their world.
“It is always exciting to be in the sea and one needs to treat the sea and its creatures with respect.”