******UPDATE August 10, 2007: Officials Confirm Today What We Already Knew!*****************
Many readers, including several Cape Cod residents have been kind enough to comment on the seal attack off North Nauset beach on August 4. Some in various linked forums and some on this site. There have been enough that it seems appropriate to reproduce them in a separate article.
Read this chiller from Tori:
I was witness to the shark sighting Saturday august 4th. I have not one doubt in my mind that what I saw was a great white shark. It breached out of the water, I could see it clearly, other species of sharks just don’t do that. It seems to me that the beach officials are taking this way too lightly considering the large number of witnesses who saw the attack. In fact, they haven’t even confirmed this as a shark attack yet despite the evidence that washed up on shore hours later (the mangled seal). It concerns me that a great white was hunting in the same exact depth of water, and area that beachgoers are swimming in.
The Beast is attempting to get more details on this.
Captain Tom – a local who runs his own web site on New England Sharks had this to say in forum:
If you want to know more about white sharks in New England go to my website
I will be back to this thread tomorrow night after fishing offshore tomorrow. I should have some info on this sighting from a friend who investigates these things for a Govt. agency. He talked to me today and is being sent the pictures for analysis.
Pictures? That would rock. The Beast is also angling for a couple of those and will keep you updated. No word yet from the Captain on how the fishing went.
Also in forum, sig226 – who lives nearby said:
We had a house in Dennis and a small outboard. We saw plenty of black tips in the bay, 10 to 15 feet long. We could estimate them pretty well by the length of our boat.
Yes, this seems to be shark season out there in the warm summertime waters of the cape. Perhaps bathers should be told?
Finally, local surfer Jack weighs in with sightings of his own:
I was surfing some amazing waves friday night one day before the attack at the point of north beach in chatham around dusk. I travel back and forth on a small inflatable motorized zodiac. On the way home my girlfriend and i noticed a shape on the ocean side on the island that didnt look quite like a seal it had a very pointed head and appeared much bigger than a large bull seal. actualy we were sure it wasnt a seal. im really not surprized after all almost every summer i can remember there has been some sort of shark incident in that area.
Jack may have spotted one or more of the Whites who appear to take up residence in his seal-laden waters this time of year. He continues to surf but perhaps with a little less sang-froid.
It is important to note that The Beast’s original story on this predation event attracted over 1,500 reads so far. Why are people flocking to this little blog to get their information? Because nobody else in the MSM is furnishing it. This is not unusual – local news outlets and beach communities are very reluctant to explore shark attacks because it hurts business. These stories get dumped quickly – note Torie’s earlier comment “…they haven’t even confirmed this as a shark attack yet…”.
And yet, the northeast coast is hardly what one would consider fallow water for shark attacks. Massachusetts averages about one every century. Our coastline is shallow and marine mammal population (White Shark’s favorite food) tends to hang out well offshore. Also, not much is known about the habits of Atlantic Whites – they are a much more elusive group than their cousins in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. However if one goes by the raw attack rate it can be safely inferred that they tend to be much less “bitey”.
One final anecdote – several weeks ago the Beast went fishing with a young man who also surfs up here off the New Hampshire Seacoast (about seventy miles north of Chatham as the crow flies.) He said that the previous day he and a friend were floating off the Wallis Sands beach in Rye around sunset on their boards. It was somewhat foggy and humid – the swells had died and water visibility was poor at around 3-5 feet. Suddenly they were both struck by what surfers call “That Sharky Feeling”. They just knew they were not alone. Neither wanted to alarm the other or be the first to speak so they just sat there for a while, scanning the surrounding water. finally his friend spoke up and said “Umm…Rory what do you see out there?”
Rory said – “I keep seeing a big head poking out of the water here and there around us.”
They went in.
Thanks, again to those who took the time to share their stories with us and have fun out there in the water.