By Gareth Shoulder @GarethShoulder
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Videographer / director: Gerrit Messersmith
Producer: Gareth Shoulder,
A COUPLE with a passion for wildlife have a hobby that’s perhaps not for the faint-hearted… freediving with sharks!
Will Nace, 29, and fiancée Summer Baumgardner, 23, regularly take to the water without protective equipment to dive amongst a wide variety of sharks.
Some of the species they regularly encounter include lemon, dusky, hammerheads and the occasional bull shark, which are considered one of the world’s most dangerous species of shark.
The couple insist the pursuit isn’t as dangerous as people think, claiming public misunderstanding of these animals has originated from an unfair representation from TV and fictional films.
Summer told Barcroft TV: “There’s so much misunderstanding around sharks, because they’re viewed as big scary apex predators that will eat you.
“They are apex predators but they’re not there to eat you.
“A lot of it’s social media, the movies… it gives them a bad rep for no reason just entertainment.
“Once you get to know the species and what they stand for, you get a totally different view on everything.”
The couple insist their conservation work is incredibly important to them.
They claim the more they can do to re-educate about the ‘unfairly judged’ animals the better chance sharks will have for long-term survival in the wild.
Will told Barcroft TV: “It’s a passion of mine educating people about sharks.
“People don’t understand them; people fear what they don’t understand.
“Break people of the fear and we might have sharks in 30, 40 years instead of them being extinct.”
One of the reasons the couple are so passionate about the preservation of these animals is so future generations can enjoy them, which would include their seven-month old daughter Coral.
Summer told Barcroft TV: “I believe you weren’t given the world from your parents, it’s borrowed from your children.
“As long as she can talk, she’s going to be introduced to animals the right away and know that they’re not something to be feared but something to be respected.
Coral’s name was inspired by the couple’s love of the ocean that brought them together.
Will told Barcroft TV: “Summer was five and a half months pregnant and we went shark diving. That was the last time since before she had the baby.
“We came back up from one of the dives and she asked me what I thought about the name, Coral. And I was like actually really liked it a lot.”
The pair describe diving as like being in a fishbowl where they can get up close and personal with the animals they love.
Summer said: “It is a really cool feeling because like he said when you go down it's literally … it feels like it's just you.
“It kind of reminds you of like how tiny you really are on this planet.
“I kind of personally get the feeling of like tranquillity and like the ocean feels like home to me.”