YOUd be forgiven for thinking that when diving with sharks wearing full protection gear was a given. But two freedivers pictured swimming with tiger sharks off the coast of South Africa and great white sharks in the Eastern Pacific prove that the creatures are in fact shy animals. Commonly thought of as the most voracious man-eating predators of the seas, these creatures actually need to gain confidence in their visitors from the surface before approaching them. Competitive freedivers, William Winram and Pierre Frolla, deliberately set out to dispel the myths surrounding these sharks when they decided to embark on their daring underwater adventures. Taking freediving literally, the pair dived without cages or any other protection devices, coming face-to-face with the sharks wearing nothing more than a wetsuit. The great white shark is known for its size, often exceeding 20ft in length. Reaching maturity at 15 years, the great white can live from anywhere between 30 and 100 years old. The best-selling novel Jaws and subsequent Steven Spielberg movie helped perpetrate the image of the great white as a man-eater. In reality, humans are not appropriate prey for the sharks, who feed on dolphins, porpoises, whale carcasses and seals. Tiger sharks can reach lengths of around 16ft and feed on a diet of fish, seals, birds, squid, turtles, smaller sharks and dolphins. They may encounter humans because they often visit shallow reefs, harbours and canals and have a similar reputation to great whites for being man-eaters. DM Mr Winram, whose father was a scuba diving instructor, and Mr Frolla have been involved in several ocean conservation projects, particularly shark preservation. DM