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Great white shark photo: I swam with 'world's biggest'

Kimberly Jeffries and a huge great white shark Image copyright Reuters and Mark Mohler

They're the photos you just can't stop looking at. A diver alongside an impossibly huge great white shark.

Just staring at them can you make you shiver - so imagine how it must've felt to be in the water.

Photographer Kimberly Jeffries was one of those who got up close and personal with what's thought to be the biggest great white on record - Deep Blue.

"I thought my heart was going to explode," she tells Newsbeat.

Over the next few days, several other huge sharks also arrived, as shown below.

A shark said to be Deep Blue, one of the largest great whites on record, swims off Hawaii, January 15, 2019 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kimberly's friend, Ocean Ramsay, can be seen here with one of the sharks
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Kimberly was out in a boat off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. The photographer was hoping to get shots of sharks feeding on the carcass of a dead sperm whale.

"We noticed tiger sharks coming up to the back of the engines. It was perfect because it was ultimately what we came out to see."

After getting into the water though, Kimberly says the team were surprised to find there were no sharks.

"Maybe 30 seconds later we see this massive shark, just kind of gracefully and slowly rising out of the depth. And she comes up to feed on the carcass."

A shark said to be Deep Blue, the largest great white on record, swims off Hawaii, January 15, 2019 Image copyright Reuters
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The shark is believed to be one called Deep Blue - around 50 years old, weighing an estimated 2.5 tonnes and nearly six metres long.

That's the same length as an adult giraffe.

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"My friend Andrew was out there and he sort of just turned and looked at me.

"He was like 'Kim, that's a great white shark' and I turned back and I was like 'I know Andrew, I know'."

It wasn't what the team were expecting so Kimberly says they were "just absolutely blown away".

"The sheer size of her was awe-inspiring," she tells Newsbeat.

"I think in the first couple of seconds when we first realised it was a great white, I thought my heart was going to explode. But then, after that initial racing, and you shift into work mode, it kind of goes away."

Quite how that feeling goes away when you're this close to a great white is hard to work out...

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Despite all her experience with sharks, Deep Blue was different.

"It was apparent that this was something just much more magical and much more special.

"She [Deep Blue] has been around for a very long time. Not even the length was what was amazing, it was just how round she was. She was huge and swollen."

A shark said to be Deep Blue, one of the largest great whites on record, swims off Hawaii, January 15, 2019 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The divers were so close to the sharks they were able to touch them
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Despite being within touching distance of the shark, Kimberly insists she never felt threatened in any way.

"It's an incredibly humbling experience. These are apex predators so they are to be respected.

"I felt pretty confident, that with such a readily available food source, there was no danger whatsoever."

Easy to say when you're safely back on dry land - but she says it's every photographer's dream to naturally record an animal in the wild.

"It's kind of like going on a safari and walking next to a lion."

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