Il Grande Squalo Bianco. (shark breaching)

Uno dei primi documentari che mi regalarono da bambino fu -Il Grande Squalo Bianco di Jacques Cousteau- penso di averlo visto un milione di volte, fino a rovinare completamente la Vhs. Da quel documentario son sempre stato attratto da questo magnifico pesce, ho sempre desiderato poterlo ammirare da vicino e provare quel brivido, di cui tutti parlano quando lo si guarda.

Il viaggio in South Africa è nato con l’intenzione di riuscire a fotografare il più grande predatore dei mari, mentre si esibisce nel pittoresco breaching, il salto fuori dall’acqua che utilizzano per cacciare le foche. Il fenomeno si può osservare da marzo a settembre a False Bay (Cape Town).

Il ritrovo è alle 6.30 al molo di Simon’s Town, fa freddo. Dopo circa una ventina di minuti, di navigazione, arriviamo nei pressi di Seal Island, piccola isola che ospita una colonia di foche.

L’isola è circondata da una strana atmosfera, una nebbia fitta, degna dei leggendari film di Steven Spielberg, incute un po’ di terrore, devo ammetterlo.

Ad un tratto scorgo una foca da sola, che comincia a nuotare in modo strano, forse ha notato qualcosa, entra ed esce dall’acqua facendo dei balzi veloci, come per magia dall’acqua vedo emergere uno squalo, non un gran breaching, però l’emozione è grande. Il predatore fallisce l’attacco, a questo punto la foca inizia a fare una danza di sopravvivenza, cerca di scappare continuando ininterrottamente a saltare, mentre lo squalo fa dei salti e sbatte violentemente la coda sull’acqua cercando di colpirla. Dopo qualche minuto lo squalo si arrende e la foca si dilegua rapidamente.

Mentre le speranze di avvistare un altro breaching stavano svanendo, un secondo squalo entra maestosamente in scena, con un salto spettacolare afferra la preda tra i denti e si immerge nelle profondità del mare.

Con l’intensificarsi della nebbia e lo sparir del sole è giunto il momento di portare a casa la foto tanto desiderata, Il Grande Squalo Bianco che afferra la foca.

Per realizzare gli scatti e dar la possibilità a tutti di vedere da molto vicino la scena, i marinai attaccano alla barca, una foca in neoprene. La distanza della foca finta è di circa 10 m; guardando il documentario -Squali voltanti- sembra tutto molto semplice, troppo semplice. Ma per realizzare un bello scatto bisogna tenere conto di tante variabili, in primis le onde che fanno diventare il tutto più difficile. La foca finta segue il moto ondoso, molte volte la si perde anche di vista, senza contare che l’oceano ha un onda molto lunga e da parecchio fastidio facendo oscillare di parecchio la barca, in più si aggiunge il freddo, quella mattina ci saranno stati 5 gradi con il 100% di umidità. Ma forse la parte più difficile è l’essere più reattivi possibili, lo squalo balza fuori dall’acqua a circa 50 km/h senza preavviso, anche con tutte le opportune tecniche è stato molto difficile portare a casa uno scatto degno di nota.

Son stato fortunato quella mattina, dopo una mezzora sdraiato a poppa, per avere la migliore inquadratura possibile, un grandissimo squalo bianco fa la sua apparizione, un breaching mostruoso, un intenso e lungo brivido ha attraversato la mia schiena mentre vedevo la scena nell’otturatore. Lo squalo riuscì ad afferrare subito la foca abbandonandola subito dopo il morso.

Il marinaio prima di tornare sulla terra ferma, mi riferisce che sicuramente si trattava di un maschio sui 4,5/5m di lunghezza, uno squalo immenso a mio avviso, come se una macchina di medie dimensioni sbucasse improvvisamente da un incrocio.

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