VICTORIA, Australia (CNN/NETWORK TEN) - It's a once-in-a-lifetime encounter most could live without.
Two Australian fishermen got up close and personal with a great white shark, and the pair said it was a heart-stopping experience – a scenario many have nightmares about.
"Oh, my God," said the men in a video. "Yeah, that was close. Can we start the engine and just have that running?"
Some 12 feet of man-eater nudged a small fishing boat near Wye River on Victoria's south west coast.
"All of a sudden, from the shadows comes this big head, and I just freeze," said fisherman Alan Falzon.
"'Jaws' was recently on TV, and you think of the last scene there where he jumps on the boat," said fisherman James Prascevic.
Lorne locals Prascevic and Falzon were fishing for much smaller sharks Wednesday afternoon, about 3 kilometers off shore, when they lured more than they expected.
"He rubbed his side along the boat and put his nose on the engine," said Prascevic.
The men were nervous, to say the least, but also mesmerized by the ocean predator and couldn't tear themselves away -- staying at sea for 40 nail-biting minutes as the shark circled.
"The adrenaline was kicking in, and you don't think sensibly when you have a great white shark swimming around your boat," said Falzon.
But this moment was too close for comfort.
"All right, let's go," said the men in the video, returning to shore with a remarkable tale.
"I wouldn't say it's a common thing -- even for the scientists looking for them. They're animals really hard to find, so it was quite an exciting opportunity to see one," said Paul Hamilton with the Melbourne Aquarium.
Prascevic is a returned soldier, and tours of Afghanistan, Iraq and Timor have left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite the recent hair-raising experience with the shark, Prascevic says the water is where he feels most calm.
Late last year, he crossed Bass Strait solo to raise awareness of depression but says Wednesday's adventure takes the cake.
"Other than getting married, best experience ever," said Prascevic.
It's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
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