Malea Tribble and Gabriel Barajas were paddling the 80 miles between Bimini, Bahamas and the Florida coast when a hammerhead shark decided to investigate their paddle boards. Tribble, who is a three-time participant in The Crossing event—an annual fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis community—was followed closely by the shark until her husband directed her to the safety of a nearby support boat.
“I didn’t have time to allow myself to be scared,” Tribble said in a Facebook post from the event. “Even an encounter as unique as mine would not deter me from competing in The Crossing again.”
The shark added drama to the 16-hour paddle, which was rerouted once due to severe weather off the coast of Florida. At one point, it’s hammer-shaped head was directly underneath Tribble’s board, according to an onlooker heard in the video. “It was all over us,” Barajas later told The Hill.
After Tribble made it to the support boat, her relay partner, Gabriel Barajas, was stalked by the same hammerhead while paddling about 15 yards from the boat’s port side. “It just so happened that out in the middle of the gulf stream, 40 miles off the coast of Bimini,” Barajas told The Hill, “we got new fundraising help from a five-foot hammerhead shark.”
In the video, Barajas is seen sitting on his board while the hammerhead swam ominously around him. People on the boat can be heard yelling out warnings. When the shark swam away, the mood lighted. “Let’s stay close to the boat for now,” advised one boater. Watch the scene unfold for yourself below.
There have been 18 reported attacks by hammerhead sharks on humans since 1900. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, you can reduce the odds of a shark attack by swimming in groups, using extra caution in murky waters, refraining from excess splashing, and never harassing a shark.