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Free Diver Dubbed The 'Blue-Haired Mermaid' Wrestles With Sharks For A Living

Free Diver Dubbed The 'Blue-Haired Mermaid' Wrestles With Sharks For A Living

Free diver 'mermaid' wrestles with great white sharks with team of female biologists for a living.

Zandile Ndhlovu is a 33-year-old free diving instructor from South Africa who spends her time exploring the oceans with great white sharks.

Her death-defying role is not for the faint-hearted and comes with many challenges, such as holding her breath for up to four minutes at a time while underwater, which she describes as her 'superpower'.

Ndhlovu has nicknamed herself 'The Black Mermaid' and her and her all-female team of marine biologists are tackling sharks in the name of science.

Great white sharks have been considered an endangered species since 2006, so the research and preservation of the sharks themselves and their habitats is vital towards keeping these dangerously fascinating animals alive.

Adult great white sharks can grow up to 20 feet in length and can weigh a whopping 6,600 pounds. With up to 300 serrated triangular teeth at any one time, it's easy to image what damage could be done with the sheer brute force of one of these creatures.

"I don't think we fully comprehend how big white sharks are until you see one so close and you realize that it really is just a bite and you're dead." Ndhlovu told MailOnline.

Stephen Frink Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
Stephen Frink Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Ndhlovu and her fellow biologists Alison Towner, 37, and Leigh de Necker, 31, need to get up close and personal with these giant sea creatures to tag them so that they can be tracked and their migration patterns observed. This involves spending time in South Africa's aptly named 'Shark Alley' – a patch of ocean that is home to many of the world's great whites.

Ndhlovu understands the real danger of diving with sharks and researching them, as the best way to find them is by following their prey and waiting.

She explained that she was scared the first time she attempted to find a great white shark using this method, saying: "I was terrified because you're in this place with an abundance of food and you don't want to be right next to the food truck when one turns up."

Ndhlovu believes that free diving allows you to get closer to nature and experience things the way they are meant to be experienced 'with no bubbles and the distraction of shiny diving equipment for the marine life'. This also helps to avoid adding any unnecessary risk to herself and her diving team that can be caused by sudden movements and unnatural sounds.

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Featured Image Credit: @zandithemermaid/@adventurer_andy/Instagram

Topics: Animals, Travel