In the history of animal and human friendship, it’s rare to see adorable interactions between people and underwater creatures. People mostly build friendships with mammals, since fishes are harder to bond with. However, it’s with a valid reason, since humans don’t always get to spend time under the sea.
Water activities such as snorkeling and diving might be available in some resorts, but you don’t actually get to interact with animals for long. But people who dedicate their work to the safety of marine animals have a high chance of befriending them. Surprisingly, a diver was able to bond with a nurse shark.
It can be quite shocking to know that a human has made friends with a shark. The underwater predator has been believed to be hostile for so long that it’s difficult to grasp that someone can be safe around them. Jim Abernethy, an award-winning conservationist, is living proof that sharks do not always have the urge to attack a human. He shared in an interview with The Dodo how the beautiful friendship started.
“We don’t allow anyone to swim towards the shark at all. So the interaction is totally on the shark’s behalf, and over a decade ago, I saw this little baby, female nurse shark swimming towards me, and just because she’s so cute and adorable, I just started loving on her extra,” Jim lovingly explained. The nurse shark was evidently affectionate, especially when it started asking for some love. It wouldn’t stop following Jim until it got his attention. The whole moment was documented, and you can really see how she’s so persistent.
It’s been 10 years, and the nurse shark still has the same habit. Jim also mentioned that he could see her looking at him when he put his face first in the water — like she was waiting for him. And because of her personality, Jim named the sweet shark Relentless. “She likes to be really, really close to the camera and sometimes on the wrong side. You can see she seems somewhat interested in seeing the other sharks through the screen.” Relentless is indeed a sociable nurse shark. While Jim explains things to her, she seems to understand what he’s saying, which is totally adorable.
Relentless has brought extra joy to Jim’s life as a conservationist. Every dive is something to look forward to — like the excitement you feel when meeting a friend. Witness their adorable friendship in The Dodo interview below. You can also follow Jim on his socials, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Learn more about Relentless, which might change your perception of sharks.