RIP Ron Taylor. It was watching a film by Ron and Valerie Taylor that first began my love for sharks.
Ron was the first person ever to film Great Whites underwater, without a cage.
The Australian husband-and-wife team were originally successful spearfishers. Ron was a world champion and Valerie, who survives him, a national winner. However, they turned their backs on the sport to embrace the cause of marine conservation.
“I just thought, ‘What am I doing down here killing these poor, defenceless marine creatures?’ So I just packed up, went home - didn’t even weigh my fish in - and never went back to another spearfishing competition”
Their lives became dedicated to underwater film-making to publicise the lives and plights of shark populations around the world. They made many television documentaries throughout the years and worked on several iconic movie projects including Jaws.
Smalltooth Sand Tiger by Francis Pérez.
I have a question for you guys :) I’m interested in your thoughts on the size that Great Whites can reach. Do you think they max out at the size that has actually been documented - around 21ft for the largest ever caught - or are there much larger sharks down there? There have been reports of larger sharks being caught - a Great White was caught in 1997 in Taiwan, that was estimated to have been 23ft, but the exact size was unconfirmed.
Experts believe they max out at around 20ft - the majority being much less than that. The above are considered exceptional and extremely rare, and absolutely the biggest that a Great White would get. What do you think? How big can they get? Do you think the experts are right or are there bigger sharks down there? And how big? 25ft? 26ft? Bigger?!
Looking forward to reading your answers!
Tom Campbell filming a Great White. Picture by Dennis Coffman.
Whale Sharks feeding, by Michael Aw.