Geoff Helisma, Clarence Valley Independent
It was just like any other day at Pippi Beach, Yamba, on Saturday February 27; the sun was shining, the waves were breaking and the wind was favourable … as a shark swam among surfers for at least 20 minutes – and no one noticed or, if they did, they didn’t care.
Surf and ocean orientated photographer Jesse Jennings captured the extended moment on camera.
Jesse says she has lived in Yamba “for the last year or so” and she that particularly likes flying her drone around Pippi Beach and Yamba Point at its northern end.
“You can see a lot of sea life there,” she says, “sting rays, turtles, dolphins and big schools of fish.
“I decided to fly my drone above the main break, where people were surfing in front of toilets.
“I was following a small stingray and then, at the left side of the screen, I saw a shadow lurking – it was different to a dolphin – close to shore and swimming around.”
Jesse turned to her partner and said, “I’m pretty sure that’s a shark”.
“I filmed for about 20 minutes and the shark was just lurking around saying, ‘hi’, to the surfers.
“No one seemed to take notice of it and when I told two groms [young surfers] who were about to paddle out, they said, ‘No, it’s definitely a dolphin and went straight out.’”
Ironically, Jesse says that the experience has reduced her fear of the predators. “I’m someone who spends a lot of time swimming in the ocean doing water photography; it puts my mind at ease seeing sharks just swimming around like that.
“It’s more eerie to know that they’re there and almost never see them – so to see one in its natural habitat was more beautiful than it was scary.”
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 10 March 2021.