Blue haired mermaid wrestles man-eating great white sharks in open water for fun

A blue-haired mermaid has told how she wrestles with some of the deadliest water beasts on earth – and she does it for fun.

Nandile Ndhlovu, the self-styled Black Mermaid, is a free diver and, alongside shark biologists Alison Twoner and Leigh de Necker, the 33-year-old swims freely and even wrestles with Great White Sharks.

Done in the name of science, she does the latter so that she can get them onto bait ropes in order to allow scientists to tag and study them.

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This helps to understand any new migration patterns developing in the area where she swims in South Africa.

Recalling the first time she did it, she said: “I will not lie, I was scared.

“I've never been so nervous.

“People think that the kelp forests prevent great white sharks entering the space, but that's not true and 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.

“I came face to face with pyjama sharks and leopard sharks but every single moment, when this strong swell comes through, you don't know what else is coming.

“I recognize every time I enter the ocean that I'm on borrowed time.”

Miraculously, Nandile can hold her breath underwater for a ridiculously long four minutes – which helps when you're taking on a killing machine.

But this skill actually helps her to stay alive.

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Due to the way the great white sharks taste, which is with their teeth, they can usually sense a person and start hunting them through gas bubbles released by oxygen tanks or other means of diving.

They can also sense your heartbeat, so concentrating on holding your breath also helps to keep that down.

Her Brit colleague, Alison, who is from Lancashire, recalled the time they managed to successfully tag a 16-foot long, two ton beast – all with Nandile's help.

She said: “It was terrifying to see a huge 16 foot shark's jaws wide-open, snapping at the bait just at the side of the boat, just a few feet away.

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She faced me and she was so massive, her girth alone was the size of the cage.

“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.

“It was a moment like no other when the shark grabbed the bait and started smacking her tail against the cage – so much that I thought it would be snapped off the line and that I was going to fall to the bottom of the ocean. I've never seen anything like it.

“I kept falling over but I had one job – and that was to find my footing and keeping filming even though I was freaking out.”

Nandile was sharing her free-diving experience for Shark Week, which has taken over the Discovery channel for the last few weeks.

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