- Jim has been diving with a wild Tiger Shark named Emma for 20 years but the two were recently separated for a year
- After a year apart, Jim was nervous about the reunion with Emma but his ‘best friend’ slipped right into their friendly relationship
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It’s not every day you see someone describe a Tiger Shark as their ‘best friend’. That’s what makes this story so unique.
Jim Abernethy is an ecotourism operator, conservationist, and Emmy-winning cinematographer who has been diving with Emma the Tiger Shark for 20 years. The two were separated for a year when the pandemic hit and Jim was unable to go SCUBA diving.
Sharks are sharks. Attributing ‘best friend’ behavior to a shark is a potentially dangerous and possibly lethal act of anthropomorphization. Yet, Emma the Tiger Shark genuinely seems at ease around Jim and as he says it, was eager to reunite. At the end of the day, this is still a wild animal but the familiarity between these two cannot be denied.
This clip shared by The Dogo takes us through Jim’s reunion with Emma the Tiger Shark. Jim believes Emma could spot him by the shape of his boat and came in for love and affection like a Golden Retriever. I’m not sure what to believe but this is truly a remarkable interaction between man and shark.
Here is another recent clip Jim shared from ‘Tiger Beach’, an infamous diving location on the west end of Grand Bahama Island where divers can find a plethora of sharks and shark species. This location is considered to be the best location on planet earth for diving with Tiger Sharks. From these two clips, it’s easy to see what the hype is all about.
The idea of getting completely comfortable around any wild animal just doesn’t sit right to me. Even if this was a great story about a diver and his Tiger Shark best friend. I’m sure there are many layers to this story and this diver knows that specimen and species a million times better than I ever would.
So I guess what I’m saying here is anyone watching this should still be careful out there when it comes to an encounter with any wild animal, Tiger Sharks included.
To keep up with Jim’s conversation work with sharks, you can find his Instagram here which also has a link to his website where he offers diving tours.