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tv   Great White Open Ocean  CNN  July 30, 2022 6:00pm-7:15pm PDT

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years later, he looks to overcome his ptsd and get back in the water with the ocean's sharks. discovery's shark week, "great white open ocean" airs next. i'll see you tomorrow night starting at 6:00 eastern. so we're out here in the middle of the pacific, the open ocean. the middle of nowhere. and we're trying to find a needle in haystack. it's all right. it's pretty good, actually, depth.
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tha thanks. >> right below you. right below you! >> that's a great shot! >> there's a shark. i think they like my feet. they like it. it's exactly what he went for. they're staying deep and they're coming up and hitting. just keep pulling them out, you know. i've already had two bumps now that have been pretty deliberate. they look like they're getting a little bit more fired up what was that ?
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>> jimi, hello. thank you so much for joining me this afternoon for a chat. it's lovely to have you. >> it's a pleasure! it's a pleasure! this is the perfect time to do things like that, now that we're all at home. >> what makes you love working with sharks and going back year over year? >> the sharks, really. it's also a lifestyle, which i'm slightly addicted to it, perhaps. >> nothing wrong with that, jimi. next question, have you ever been attacked or bitten by a shark? >> no, i don't think i have? well, definitely nothing serious. nothing serious. >> it's early.
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all right. ready? >> so in the spring of 2020, jimi and i were shooting a show for shark week and the idea was, could we find a great white shark offshore. and if we did find one, jimi was definitely getting in the water with it. >> the reality is, these sharks spend most of their time in open ocean. where we can't observe them. where these animals go and what they do is the next great mys mystery. >> jimi had this theory that great whites might be more aggressive offshore, where their food sources are scarce. and to prove his theory, he actually wanted to jump in with a great white shark in open ocean. the problem was, how do you find
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one of these animals in the middle of the pacific? >> how far offshore are we, john? >> 75 miles. >> out in the middle of nowhere, huh? >> so we're way offshore. we got reports from a fishing boat that there was a dead whale out there. >> what's this here, mate? >> and it was starting to get dark. >> okay! >> and there it is! >> that was pretty cool running into a whale carcass that far offshore. it was definitely like a giant chum slick, which would be very attractive to sharks. >> in nature, these things can take many, many hours, but i am convinced that it's going to
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attract one of our mega open ocean great white sharks. >> so we ended out pretty late last night and finally went to bed. first thing in the morning, lo and behold, we got a sizable great white circling the whale. >> jimi was basically getting himself ready to go in the water. >> did you think he was nervous? >> hell, yeah, i know he was nervous. a great white in open ocean. i wouldn't do that. >> you say you're not scared, but that doesn't mean that you're just going to blindly go into it. you respect them for the apex predators they are. >> that's right. and they do give me a fright from time to time, but i'm not scared of sharks. but there are definitely moments where you have to -- you have to be brave. if they're going to swim directly at you, for example, they might test you, you know, so you have to kind of hold your ground. and i would be lying that if in those moments, you didn't come out with your heart going a little bit quicker than normal.
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>> he's going back down. >> can you pass me the gopro? >> do you want to do your side? >> ready? okay? we good? >> yeah. we're good. >> well, we are getting something. >> okay. >> jimi wanted to get in this clear polycarbonate cage to observe the sharks. it was very low impact for the sharks and he was determined to use this cage to get very close to these animals. >> hey, you got it! >> like driving a car for the first time. it's all right. >> jimi being jimi, the guy is pretty fearless, he goes ahead and hops inside that thing.
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>> it's pretty good, actually. ni nice. >> jimi knows the risks of working with big great white sharks. right below you! right below you! that's a great shot. >> anyone who works with them knows the risk. >> just keep calling them out, you know? i think it's working, matt, i really do. >> it's pretty me monotonous for 35 minutes to an hour. >> i think they like my feet. that's what he went for. >> the next thing you know, it all happened.
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>> there's a shark here. >> give this five or ten more minutes. they're staying deep and coming up and hitting. i've already had two bumps now
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that have been pretty deliberate. they look like they're getting a little bit more fired up. what was that? is that a shark? >> yeah, it was. >> [ bleep ] . >> hey! [ bleep ]!
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oh! >> hey! [ bleep ] [ bleep ] >> the first thing that went through my mind was, he's a
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goner. >> we didn't know if jimi had been hit by the shark. i've been working with sharks for 30-plus years and i've never seen anything like that. a shark that big, probably 15, 16 feet, hits a guy going full steam, i think, it's over. >> holy [ bleep ]. >> did it hit you? >> you already? >> yeah, just let me get my breath. >> holy [ bleep ]. [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> jimi being jimi, somehow he was able to avoid the shark's teeth. >> it was just a miracle what happened, because the shark basically was taking a chomp. technically thep plexiglas save jimi's life. >> i feel like the bottom of the cage, you know, kept me safe and
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i went with the bottom of the cage and the shark went away from me, thankfully. all that i saw was the big tail when it was going back down into the water. my initial response was just, hold on to the thing, and then i was like, get your head in the water, see where the shark is. and that's when i swam. but i think he realized he made a mistake and thankfully was gone and gave me menough time t get back to the boat. it's unbelievable i don't have a scratch on me. first-ever person ever to have a breach on them and be able to survive and tell the tale. unbelievable. >> the animal gave a number of warnings. it was very cautious in the beginning and as it became more bold, it started bumping the
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box. >> initially, what happened is, i felt a bump and i actually shouted up to the boat, was that a shark? i wasn't quite sure and i felt this kind of jerk. it must have been a trial run for the shark or they were testing out. the shark was doing that first bump, and they decided to really go for it the second time. >> this behavior has been observed many, many times along the pacific coast, in other areas worldwide, where sharks will perceive something to be a threat and will aggressively go after it. that's when it came up and it rammed the box, which is a behavior to drive that object away. this validates something i have suspected for more than 40 years. that the behaviors of these sharks are not all predatory.
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the majority of the attacks by white sharks on humans are investigation and/or displacement, defending a territory. jimi's case is very unique in that, fortunately, he was not hurt. some of that has to do with his ability in the water and his knowledge. a lot of it had to do with luck. it's something you don't want to try at home, but we were also grateful that the shark wasn't injured, either. there were no cuts, no abrasions. so both escaped injury free. and fortunately, there was a camera in the water filming, so we had the opportunity to see exactly what the shark did, which tells us why it did it. it gave science, those of us that study white sharks, a
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fantastic opportunity to see what these animals do under certain circumstances. >> i love all wildlife and i knew the risks involved. i chose to put myself in that position, no matter what happened, i was never, ever going to blame the animal. for the shark, it was just an ordinary day. but for me, it was a day that will stay with me for the rest of my life. i spend more time with great white sharks than i do my own family. as such, i've developed a deep admiration and love for them. i guess you could say i've had
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some close calls in the past, but i believe these are acceptable risks if you're working with such a large predator. these risks are worth taking, if we're going to push the boundaries of our shark know knowledge. >> there's only a few guys in the world that have a way with big sharks. showing the world that they're not man eaters. they're not hunting us. >> he's one of the few guys in the world that could do the things that he did. jimi loved these sharks. he was never afraid to push the envelope and get close to these ani
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animals. >> i didn't talk to him for months. kind of went off the grid for a while. >> jimi went home to jersey in the uk and when i finally did talk to him, he still seemed a bit shook up. he said he was having nightmares. waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. >> in the days after the incident, i must have experienced almost every emotion, from great highs of adrenaline to real lows of self-esteem. i was happy, of course, to have survived such an incredible encounter, but at the same time, i was left with a strange sense of guilt over what had happened.
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they call it ptsd, apparently. okay. let's do this. i have to get back in the saddle. i have to get close to these animals again. >> whoa! >> jimi, it's topside. do you read me? over. >> watch out! >> we didn't know something was wrong with jimi. >> i dropped everything and jumped in the helicopter with him. you always have the whole place to yourself. no stranger at the dinner table making things awkward. or in another room taking up space. it's just you and your people. because why would you ever share your vacation home with someone you wouldn't share your vacation with. ♪ ♪
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. >> after an encounter like that, you probably want to get right back in the water and face your demons. in a normal year, he would be off to guadalupe island in mexico, running cage diving trips. >> well, as you can see, this morning, we have classic guadalupe island conditions. another successful ship to guadalupe. tons of shark activity and some amazing guests. this is jimi partington with
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islander charters. we hope to see you soon out there one day, signing out. >> but guadalupe was shut down due to covid, and that was not good. >> guadalupe wasn't going to be an option, and when i finally got hired to do some shark filming, it was in new zealand. and they asked me to put together a team. well, jimi was the first guy i called and he couldn't have been more excited. i remember him saying, when do we leave? let's do it! >> southern new zealand, it's like the land of the lost. it's the very bottom of the world. the water is freezing, the wind howls, which makes the ocean like a washing machine. so right to film white sharks in elements like that, it becomes a challenge. but that never matters to jimi.
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he was telling me on the flight, he was gung ho for this. >> what's up, jk! let's do this, guys. let's do this! >> are you ready? >> let's do it! >> and nicky shifl was on the trip to not only bait the sharks, but also to watch our backs, because the sharks in new zealand, they are not only some of the biggest, but they're also the most unpredictable sharks in the world. >> so after a year stuck at home, a 13-hour flight, a two-week quarantine in auckland, two more flights, and a two-hour ferry ride, jimi was now finally getting his chance to dive with great whites again.
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>> oh, nice! >> just grabbed it! >> yeah, yeah! >> he just reached in -- >> look at the shark, though! it's going to turn on the bait. come take this out. >> okay, get ready! >> what an amazing start here on edwards island. di dickie's been wrangling an amazing shark on the bait line. >> you've got your work cut out for you there, mate. >> this is the first time i've encountered a great white shark since i was almost killed by one, and let me tell you, it's an emotional experience for me .
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>> how do you feel about getting ready to go in for the first time? >> yeah, mate. it's my first time out here at edwards island, and already we have half a dozen big mail sharks around the boat. i know what i have to do. i have to get back in the saddle. i've got to get close to these animals again and reaffirm in my own mind that they're not malicious and that they're not out to get me. >> good luck in there, jimbo. >> thanks, dickie! >> have fun. >> i have to do this. if i ever hope to work with great whites again .
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>> we were anchored in about 22 feet of water, and the dive plan was for jimi to go down about 10 feet, get acclimated to the sharks, and to the cage. and when he was ready, he would go down to the bottom. >> hey, jimi, is your valve closed? all right, cool. >> jimi, jimi, jimi, this is topside. do you read me? over.
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jimi, jimi, jimi. this is topside. do you read me? over? jimi, jimi, jimi, it's topside. do you read me? over. >> all right, guys. just standby one moment. uh, standby. standby. >> this is really the most nerve-racking part. i mean -- >> this is topside. can you hear me? over. >> we all got pretty nervous at this stage. i think jimi just needed a moment to gather himself. we were just about to pull him back up. >> this is topside. can you hear me, over? >> and then he finally spoke.
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>> thanks for checking in on me, mate. i don't know what you can see, but down here the size of these animals, i would say they're slightly bigger in this deep water. but all is good. everything's safe. there's some megasharks down here. maybe one is going to come up to you, mate. >> the sharks down here are just out of this world. unbelievable. what a location! >> everything looks okay? >> we're good. >> okay. copy that. >> we kind of all breathed a sigh of relief at that point. but then we all just kind of sat back and let him do his thing.
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>> it's like a conveyor belt of endless sharks. >> it was a really special moment for jimi not just jimi, but for all of us, really. i think we all had a little bit of ptsd. in that moment, it was gone. >> the visibility here is just absolutely spectacular. i can see anywhere up to ten sharks at one point. passed right over my head. it's just given me the most insane pass. this is an animal -- this is a fully mature male shark that could be over 30 years of age.
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unbelievable. >> jimi, how's it going down there? bro, do you need to go down a bit deeper? yeah, i'm starting to go down. >> from what i could hear in the qu c co coms, it sounded like jimi was having a great dive. he was really in his element. >> okay, i've reached the bottom. i can see the whole landscape under the boat. >> we had at least 12 sharks and he sounded very relaxed, very comfortable in the water there. the water was clear. >> it's a completely different scene down here. >> being surrounded by sharks is jimi's thing, and he was having an incredible day.
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>> it looks really familiar. some really characters. real individuals. >> one shark in particular really was interested in jimi and it was this shark that had a collection of copa pods, or these little parasitic animals on its back, so we could easily identify it. but it kept coming around and coming around and getting closer and closer to jimi. this shark sort of followed him around all day long. >> this is a magnificent shark . i'm all good. this is incredible!
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whoa! oh! okay, guys. it's been a hell of a dive. i've survived. my air's looking a little bit low. i'm down to around 50 bars, so it's going to be time to come up, i think. >> i was so happy for jimi, that he got to have this kind of experience on his first dive back. i mean, the pandemic kept him out of the water for about a year and locked away in england,
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struggling with ptsd. finally gets a chance to go out and have an experience with great white sharks again. and i think he felt rejuvenated. >> dude, how was it, man?! >> it's insane down there. insane! unbelievable. what a location. you were absolutely right. you and brandon, this place is nuts, mate. this cage is just unbelievable for being down there. there's so many more sharks on the bottom than what you see here at the surface. awesome. awesome. >> we didn't know something was wrong with jimi. >> jimi came up to me and said, i can't talk. i can't talk, they stabilized jimi, keeping him alive. and got him to a hospital. new astepro allergy. no allergy spray is faster.
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jimi just finishes his first dive and already, he wants to try snout touching. >> all right. let's get the cage in. >> snout touching is something i would not recommend anyone do, especially you kids at home. but it's where you simply reach out and touch the white shark's snout. and they open their mouth and they remain in place sometimes, sometimes for five to six seconds. it's pretty spectacular. so i went ahead and got suited up and jump in the cage so i can be a spotter for jimi to tell him when the white sharks are
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coming up from down below. >> check, check, okay, topside, topside, push me further away from the boat. so now we had to figure out a plan to get the sharks from the deep back up to the surface. i see a bunch of sharks down below. it's an unbelievable sight. it's impossible to keep them off of you. not sure who was more nervous at that point, me or jimi. and i told him, hey, man, we can hold off for a while and try this tomorrow, but he wasn't having it. >> okay. let's do this. >> dickie, dickie, see if you can try to pull them up with the
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bait. >> dickie, i would just bait further out, aggressively, but like nowhere towards me. >> okay, topside. hey, jimi, heads up, buddy, i see him coming up right now. >> shark here. >> that's the one in the water. that's our shark. it might be coming back on its own. interested. >> whoa! >> i wouldn't say i'm experience flashbacks as such, but,
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defii've definitely got an element of caution i might not have had before. >> jimi, how you doing, buddy? >> jimi, you all right? >> it's been a roller coaster of the past 12 months, but this is something i knew i had to do. i just had to get back in the saddle and i had to get close to these animals again. >> okay, we got one shark in particular coming in right now. >> you can see him coming up right now! >> okay, i've got him, i've got him!
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okay, he's going to be good. not every single shark is going to allow you this type of interaction, for a nice, slow, animal, a relaxed shark, one that's going to allow me to interact with it, safely and respectfully. it's all about just getting the right shark. >> the shark that bumped jimi in the cage, that's the same shark that went up to the surface to get its snout touched. >> this is something that we've done many, many times in the past. and if it's done correctly, it can be spectacular. gets the heart racing every single time. wow! amazing! seeing the sharks like that is such a humbling experience. >> he really made it look easy.
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and what i love about jimi is, for him, it's all about the sharks and their well-being and it's about educating people about these animals. >> the shark censors are all around their snout area. they use that to pick up electrical currents of their prey. we don't know for sure, but it seems that we trigger some sort of response in the shark when we touch that area. it's almost like an overloading of its senses, but this is just a remarkable shark. it's obviously comfortable with what i'm doing. at any point this shark could swim away. so it's just as curious of me as i am of it. wow. it's just reminded me exactly why i have so much love and respect for these sharks. an awesome encounter with just the most incredible animal. >> he got back in the cage, he
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did the snout touching. he just -- he was a new man. that night, we had a lot of fun. we were so happy for jimi. he seemed to rejuvenated. >> oh, this is crazy! oh, this is insane! don't push me! oh, that is horrible. >> i know jimi very well. i've been working with the guy for nine years now. and i would say i would know if something was obviously wrong. i didn't notice anything that morning. >> something was definitely
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it's been a roller-coaster of a past 12 months, but this is something i knew i had to do. he got back in the cage. he did the snout touching. he was a new man. >> finally gets an experience to go out and have an experience with great white sharks again
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and i think he felt rejuvenated. >> an awesome encounter with just the most incredible animal. >> i know jimi very well. i've been working with the guy for nine years now. and i would say i would know if something was obviously wrong. i didn't notice anything that morning. >> we got in the boat and i was getting shots of the guys just chatting. >> all right, dickie's, is your cam actually going to work? >> yes. >> i've tested a few times, but not on great white sharks. >> i noticed jimi wasn't saying much. and at the time, i didn't really think a lot of it. it's going to be very interesting to see what their strength is, actually. >> i've got 20 on the top. it's going to malfunction. >> well, well, that's the saying, isn't it?
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whether we're going to let it land it. >> jimi's a really articulate guy, and he's usually great on camera, and when he stumbled. >> yeah -- >> something was a little bit off, but i kind of chalked it up to, well, maybe he's not awake yet or he's tired or needs another cup of coffee or something like that. >> jimi was standing next to me all morning. and i -- i didn't notice he was having a problem. i didn't notice anything wrong. i really didn't. >> jeff was the one who noticed something was off. >> so i'm filming jimi and the guys, and i kept noticing that jimi was having some sort of issues. his eye was a little droopy. he had sort of a nervous tic i had never seen before and he was having trouble speaking, and
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that wasn't like jimi at all. >> it's going to be a rocky one, boys. >> yeah. >> something was definitely wrong. so i cut camera, i set the camera down skbrimy came up to me and said, i can't talk. and then he said it again and i looked in his eyes, and he just had this look of fear, of panic. and so i immediately turned the boat around. i had him sit down, and, he continued to say, i can't talk, i can't talk. that was a sign to me that he might be having a stroke. >> the fact that we were still right next to shore was a godsend, because if we were out by the islands, that's an hour and some change boat ride back to the harbor.
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and when someone is stroking, time is not on your side. jeff told the captain, turn around the boat around, and thankfully, we were just a few minutes from the dock. so we had to call in a chopper and get him airlifted. >> they put him in a medevac. i dropped everything and jumped in the helicopter with him. and i tell you, that was, that was -- it was really touch and go for a while. we just didn't know. the medevac paramedics did a great job. they stabilized jimi. you know, keeping him alive. and got him to a hospital. they flew jimi to christchurch. and christchurch has one of the best stroke units in the entire
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world. and they were able to stabilize him and basically saved his life. >> when we were allowed to finally see jimi in the hospital, we went up there right away. we took the first flight and it's always tough when you see your friend in the hospital and you're trying to avoid the 10,000-pound elephant in the room. >> don't forget about your fries, too. >> yeah, you've got french fries there, jimi. >> you know what we'll do? >> what? >> i'll just pour some here. >> put them on your pizza. >> there! >> pizza and french fries. smile, your family's watching. >> good? that's awesome. >> best pizza you've ever had,
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huh? >> visiting jimi every day in the hospital was difficult, because you're almost pretending like nothing is wrong, but you know there's something seriously wrong. >> here we go! >> get that thing out! get that damned thing out of his nose. >> oh, my gosh! >> oh, wow! >> was that down -- >> it goes all the way to his stomach. >> wow, look at that. much better, huh? >> wow. [ bleep ] yeah, that is. >> now eat up. >> i think, especially, at his age, it's frustrating, because, here he is, he's in the prime of his life, the prime of his career. >> and they wondered like, oh, why is your -- >> he's one of the top shark guys out there. and this just threw a big wrench in his gears and it flatlined everything for the moment. >> it's -- i don't know how to describe it.
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>> we got your dives done? >> yeah, we were lucky. >> and it was great dive. there were a lot of sharks. >> you did well, you did well having that one. because we had none the -- >> yeah. >> and then you did the snout touching. that was great. >> yeah, i think that one would be it, honestly. >> those sharks were chill -- >> i think that would be massive. it was beautifully done. like, everyone was quiet. did you notice? >> yeah, i did. >> everyone was like quiet. >> i think jimi knew the length of the road he had in front of him. it's a hell of a road to recovery. but the good news is, jimi's young. when you have technology that's easier to control... that can scale across all your clouds...
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on jim was in new zealand for six weeks, so the priority was getting him back to jersey. >> could you show me how you'd throw a ball at me? how do you throw and catch a ball? >> that way? >> no. sorry, mate. okay. >> when he got back here, he couldn't make a cup of tea, he couldn't dress himself, he couldn't clean his teeth. so he needed 24-hour care. he could only say two words,
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which was shark, which was obviously very special, and mum. >> shark. >> sarah? >> yes. sarah. >> sarah. >> so my daughter, liv, she would get up in the morning and make him breakfast and sit with him endlessly. >> cp -- >> sounding out letters, playing little games. >> can you wipe your tummy? >> he wouldn't really be able to understand back at the beginning what you were saying. >> say again? >> can you rub your tummy, like if you were hungry? this is rubbing your tummy, isn't it? do you remember, this is your tummy, where all the food is, so we rub it. >> but of course, small steps have led to where we are now. >> "a" "b" "c" "d" "e" "f" "g" "h" "i" "j" "k" "l" "m" "n" "o"
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"p" "q" "r" "s" "t" "u" "v" "w" "x" "y" "z". >> it's a year on and i honestly don't think we would be where we are now. >> you can keep talking. i love music, anything else. it's not just tea! go! >> yeah. a lot of hard work, a lot of tears, a lot of laughter, but all small steps, and all going in the right direction. >> i've still got everything, you know, like, i remember everything. it's not like, oh, i've forgotten that. i've still got everything. all it is is, i just can't talk. i can't say it. >> he's just so inspiring. and as a family, we are just beyond proud of how far he's come. and he's never lost sight of his sharks. we call them his shark family. >> my favorite stuff, of course, is shark work. >> you love watching all your old stuff.
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>> i think the one scene that he's the most proud of, really the highlight of his career, may be the highlight of his life, was the submarine dive. >> all right. let's do it. >> okay, it's a go? >> come on, jimy. >> thank you. >> you have had a very unique experience going to the depths of guadalupe, haven't you? tell us about that. >> it's one of the best things i've ever done, it probably is the best i've ever done. this is a show for "shark week" discovery and the whole show was about exploring the depths. >> i read you loud and clear. nemo is ready to cast off. >> this is like a dream scenario. >> because that's where the behaviors are, you know? >> oh, the sharks are all around us here. you know, they just appeared out of nowhere. oh! shark right on the sub!
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there's three now here. and these sharks are so big. >> they're larger than the submarine. >> that one's a male. right on us! this one is really interested in us. >> i was loving it. i was thinking, this is great. we're getting the most insane footage ever! >> oh, look at this one coming in! wow, big female! huge shark on the sub. oh, he just hit it with her tail. oh, she's gaping. she's all over it. oh, hey, girl! >> she bumped us! >> i was just enjoying the ride. i kind of lost where i was for a second. >> huge shark here. whou! >> this was jimi's defining moment. he got to experience these animals like no one ever had before. >> wow, look at this thing. i mean, to be this close to a great white shark at such great depth is just an unbelievable feeling. >> we obviously know and he
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knows, which is obviously tough, is that he's not going to be able to dive again. that's definitely a no-no. obviously, when we first found out that news, it was not good. and it was really tough. but sharks just have to be a part of his life. so he can still swim with the sharks at the top of the water. he can still go down in his subs. so it's just about adapting now. >> put the light on for a second. >> oh, wow! wow! >> we were just devastated by what happened to him. but it's moments like this, memories like these that pull you through. jimi, he'll be back. i know it. >> whoa!
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>> overwhelmed by what i'm seeing here. this is just the best. this is the best thing i've ever done in my life.
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