Andy Casagrande, a shark expert, cameraman and on-air personality for Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” knows what not to do when faced with an enormous great white in the open sea.
“If you act like prey, they will treat you like prey,” Casagrande told the crowd gathered at Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center in Riverhead on Saturday. “Don’t try to swim away. Not even Michael Phelps can out-swim a great white shark.”
Casagrande was there signing autographs and talking about his favorite subject.
There was the one time, however, that Casagrande admitted he was not able to take his own aforementioned advice. Once, while filming, he noticed his oxygen intake was low and he only had enough air for about five deep breaths. He knew he had to dart for the surface, but the sharks were sure to notice his desperate grab and give chase.
He made his frantic move, noticing there was a great white hot on his tail and that the sea beast was quickly closing the distance between the two of them.
“At the last second its mouth was open,” Casagrande told the crowd. “I banged it on the nose with my camera and it swam away.
“Ever since, I have never not checked my scuba gauge.”
And what do you do if a shark is coming at you, but you don’t have a long lens to bonk him on the snout?
“Go for the eyes and the gills,” he said.
Shark Week premieres Sunday, Aug. 10, at 8 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.