Let's cut the fake suspense and get to the encounter - I didn't see longimanus whilst in the water but I did see it. It was the end of the second morning just after our first dive on Elphinstone. We parked the rib at the back of a larger liveaboard vessel to get some more drinking water and a large grey and white shape cruised past.
It banked in close to take a look at the rib and cruised on and we watched in awe.
The first thing I noticed was the whiteness. In such shallow depths and such brilliant sun, longimanus' white fin patches almost glow and the contrast with the grey skin tone is magnificient. The second thing you notice is its shape. This is a beast designed to go long distances with great ease and is beautifully sculpted to do so easily. If it were a car, it would be an e-type jag, if a plane; it would be a supermarine spitfire. If it were designed it would be a design classic but of course it was not.
Everything about this shark is calm, controlled, at ease - it even looks more comfortable in its own skin than the mighty great white. It was at once the most beautiful and terrifying thing I've ever seen.
It was also however a shark looking for food and so, eventually it looked elsewhere, cruising on into the blue until it became blue itself and disappeared.
As it left I dunked my camera underwater and took photos blindly. The end result may be my favourite photo ever:
and I guess now I will have to go back and do it properly.