According to Rutzen, the shark uses its mouth to feel him.
"But that ends up being a deadly bite," Cooper remarked.
"Touch is a very important sense for a living animal," said Rutzen. "So why shouldn't they use that sense?"
Rutzen believes most attacks by great whites on humans have been the result of curiosity, not deliberate acts of aggression. Worldwide there are only about five deadly shark attacks each year, a tiny amount considering the millions of people who swim in the ocean.
Rutzen says many of us have likely had a positive encounter with a shark, without even knowing it.
Asked what he means by a "positive encounter," Rutzen told Cooper, "It's where the animal comes to look at you, sees you're not food. It's not really hunting. May be very curious in what you're doing, look at you for a while, and then move off again. You'll never know the animal's there. But the animal knows you're there."
"And that should tell people what?" Cooper asked.
"It will tell the people that these animals are not out to get us. They're not in our oceans to kill humans," he replied.
Rutzen doesn't take tourists diving with sharks without a cage, but Cooper dived together with him before and Rutzen offered to take Cooper for an up close look at great whites, with no cage and no protection. On a perfect calm morning they headed to Shark Alley.
They dropped anchor and the chumming began. It didn't take long for the sharks to arrive.
The fact that they had a paramedic on board and an ambulance waiting on the shore wasn't exactly reassuring to Cooper.
"They have been chumming the water for about half an hour now and already spotted four or five great whites swimming around the boat looking for food, so it's time to go diving," Cooper remarked while preparing to get into water.
"Mike Rutzen says that the most important thing once you're in the water is to remain calm. Easier said than done."
Project confidence - that's what Mike Rutzen recommended, but Cooper was not exactly sure how to do that underwater through a wet suit.