Shark Week 2020 | 'Jaws Awakens': How three thrillseekers risked all to find the largest male white shark
When it comes to Shark Week, Chris Fallows, Jeff Kurr and Dickie Chavelle think big - the biggest, in fact. The trio are not content with just catching a glimpse of your average giant great white shark, they're after the biggest and there's no bigger great white shark on record than the one they call Phred. On Shark Week 2020, Chris, Jeff and Dickie use all new equipment to find out if Phred has gotten even bigger than he has since the last time they spotted him, making him officially the biggest great white shark on record, all on 'Jaws Awakens.'
Chris and Jeff are old Shark Week regulars - they've each run into Phred in 2014 and 2013, respectively. They're joined by the exuberant thrillseeker, Chevell, himself a Shark Week regular for the Discovery Channel. They're investigating rumors that Phred has been spotted once again in the waters of New Zealand and that he's gotten bigger. When he was last seen, he was measured at a whopping 18 feet - at least four feet larger than the average male great white shark. With the years that have passed, it was possible that he'd grown to 20 feet.
Before the '70s and '80s, where sharks were nearly hunted to extinction, sightings of 20 feet shark were relatively more frequent. The return of sharks of that length could mean that work of conservationists protecting sharks from extinction just might be working - it was now up to the Shark Week trio to verify.
To do this, they had an all new cage, the Black Widow, so called for its ease of allowing divers to walk through the ocean floor protected. Using this, they lay in wait in areas they believed were in the path of Phred's migration. It took several attempts and a sighting from a local that Phred was spotted near Edwards Island, for them to finally make contact with a group of six large, aggressive sharks - one of which they estimated to be 19 and a half feet long.
The sharks, lured in by bait, attacked both the Black Widow cage and the boat above it, but the risk to their lives was worth it, as the team got several great shots of all the sharks involved. Comparing the shots to the previous photos of Phred, they were able to confirm that the largest, and most aggressive shark had indeed been their old friend Phred and he'd grown at least a foot and a half since their last encounter. All in all, it was a successful mission and Phred is still alive and swimming in 2020.
You can catch the full Shark Week schedule on Discover Channel here.