British long-distance swimmer Adam Walker was three hours into a swim across New Zealand’s Cook Strait when he noticed he had company.
“A pod of dolphins appeared … 10 minutes later I looked down and saw a shark underneath,” he tweeted after completing the 16-mile swim in 8 hours and 36 minutes. “I’m not sure 100 percent what type it was.”
He estimates that the shark was about 6 feet long and about 20 feet beneath him.
Walker says he was worried about the close proximity of the predator, but swam on and took comfort in being surrounded by his 10 or so mammal friends. The pod stayed with him for an hour until the shark left, he said.
"I'd like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home!" he posted on Facebook. "This swim will stay with me forever."
The British open-water swimmer hopes to be the second person ever to complete a group of seven long-distance swims in sites around the world: the Irish Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar.
His last swim is scheduled to take place in the Irish Channel in August.
Ironically, as part of his effort, he is raising funds for Stop Whaling, a non-profit group focused on whale and dolphin conservation.