Crocodile Done Deal
So, Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died while getting up close and personal with one of the deadliest creatures of the deep. I have to agree with Debra Saunders, this is pretty much how you expected the story to end.
Coincidentally, I heard about Irwin's demise while at an open ocean swimming event on Maui. Plenty of dangerous creatures there.
While visiting the island, I had the fortune to swim with someone who is pretty much the opposite of Steve Irwin. Bob is one of the most experienced, if not the most experienced, open water swimmers on the island. He knows the local wildlife and took me to watch sharks, sea turtles, rays (similar to the photo above), and other creatures. But his attitude is one of respect. Watch and enjoy them, but know and respect their raw power in the water, which is assuredly greater than yours.
What's the lesson? If you are dealing with wild animals, you can't treat the encounter as a contest, because there will almost certainly be a winner and a loser. And you can't be friends with them, because the concept is meaningless. Know them, know their power, and know your own strengths and weaknesses. Then enjoy the show.