A pod of dolphins came to the aid of a marathon swimmer who suddenly noticed the presence of a 6-foot shark swimming below him during his 16-mile swim across New Zealand’s Cook Strait.
Adam Walker, attempting to become the first Brit to complete the Ocean’s Seven marathon swimming challenge, was fortunate to be surrounded by about 10 playful dolphins, which were helpful in scaring off the shark, possibly a great white, according to the Marlborough Express.
“I’d like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home,” Walker said on Facebookabout the dolphins. “This swim will stay with me forever.”
Walker completed the swim from Wellington to Perano Head in eight hours, 36 minutes, leaving him with only the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland to conquer to complete the Ocean’s Seven.
Ocean’s Seven is to marathon swimmers what the Seven Summits is to mountain climbers. Ocean’s Seven is a series of seven long-distance, open-water swims across channels or straits across the globe, the English Channel being perhaps the most famous of the bunch.
Before attempting to swim Cook Strait, Walker was told by legendary New Zealand swimmer Philip Rush, who has made the crossing eight times, that he didn’t have to worry about sharks.
“I had a go at him when I got out,” Walker told Marlborough Express.
Walker said there could have been more sharks checking him out along the way, but he noticed only the one.
Dolphins have been known to protect humans from sharks before. Whether that was their intent here remains conjecture. But it was fortunate for Walker that they arrived on the scene and swam with him for more than an hour, coming so close that a tail brushed him.
Here’s video of the dolphin encounter posted by Walker: