90-year-old William Shatner conquers his fear of sharks by swimming with them

As Discovery’s Shark Week swims on, Monday’s special called Expedition Unknown: Shark Trek, features Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, trying to conquer his fear of sharks by boldly going and jumping into the water with them.

“I am deathly afraid of sharks,” Shatner told the show’s host, Josh Gates. “I really am.”

So to ease the Star Trek actor into things, Gates started by taking Shatner through a couple of relatively safe visits with hammerhead and reef sharks, neither of which are known to eat or attack humans. But those were just the appetizer courses, the main course was swimming with potentially deadly tiger sharks, and hoping not to become the main course.

With Gates and a team of experts at his side, Shatner came face-to-face with various tiger sharks while under water, some as big as 15 feet long. And while there were a couple tense moments trying to predict when and where the sharks would swim next, Shatner seemed to genuinely love the experience.

“They’re so beautiful, they’re unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” he said.

And despite the danger involved, viewers on Twitter loved seeing Shatner in the water with the sharks, saying things like, “William Shatner is one of the greatest icons and greatest human beings, and to see him on Shark Week is beyond a treat. Thank you sir.”

And as many viewers pointed out, perhaps what’s most impressive is that Shatner went on this mission at the age of 90, with comments like “William Shatner is the bravest 90-year-old alive.”

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One viewer even suggested that Shatner’s appearance on Shark Week deserves to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. And while any awards remain to be seen, Shatner did take something even more important from the experience.

“Unbelievable. One of the great moments of my life,” Shatner said. And when asked by Gates if he conquered his fear, Shatner responded; “I have.”