- Category: MyBlog
- Published on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 08:27
- Hits: 4975
Last year, in response to reports of increased shark activity, I gave up surfing dawn patrol alone. This year I've continued with that practice. I miss seeing sunrise while sitting on my board by myself, but it seems prudent. These days I stick with the herd.
The bigger question is how to handle the kids. My daughters started surfing in earnest this year. I don't want them to be afraid, but I want them to be careful. It's not an easy line to draw. For now I tell them to stay close to shore while I maintain a sharp lookout over them.
It looks like we may have a solid hurricane swell next week. The lure of head+ waves in warm water is irresistible. I'll be out there and won't complain if the lineup is a little crowded. - Mike Marks
- Category: MyBlog
- Published on Thursday, 19 July 2012 21:24
- Hits: 3377
On Saturday, July 7, around 2:30 pm at Nauset Beach in Orleans, swimmers, surfers and kids splashing in the shorebreak, were all told to clear out of the water due to “blue fish,” as one bystander recalled. They later learned that a great white shark, estimated at 14 feet long, had chased a kayaker just 200 feet from shore. The kayaker was unharmed but a little shaken after his mad dash for the beach. Over 3,000 beach goers had to be evacuated and Nauset Beach was closed for the rest of the day after the sighting was confirmed by harbormaster, Dawson Farber. A now famous picture captured the moment Walter Szulc noticed a dorsal fin closing in on his tiny boat. It could be the poster for the next horror film; the story is far too good for anyone to give up. This may explain why it took days to learn that the “man eating shark” might only have been a friendly plankton feeder. Tourists, news stations and locals alike secretly want to be able to tell their friends that there was a dangerous shark at Nauset Beach when they were swimming there. Dick Hilmer, who runs a kayak tour company in Orleans, was especially on guard when guiding tours after the sighting, making people aware that they should herd close together and protect themselves by appearing larger than any shark.
Sharks are said to be coming because of the rising population of seals. Since June 30, several sharks have been spotted in the ocean surrounding Cape Cod. Biologist Greg Skomal, however, believes that the shark at Nauset Beach was only a basking shark because its fin had a more rounded shape as opposed to the sharper edges of a great white's fin, along with the behavior of the fish. Basking sharks tend towards the surface, not unlike the shark seen, while great whites tend towards the bottom. We will never really know for sure whether it was indeed the alleged great white shark or if it was a wanna be Bruce. Skomal is asking for more pictures of the sighting as the ones he has seen have been slightly fuzzy or blurry. Whether it was a harmless giant or the classic Jaws himself, the presence of any shark is enough to get anyone’s blood pumping.
Nauset Light Beach has also been subject to memorable shark sightings lately. On July 13th around 11:15 in the morning, lifeguard Tyler Grees paddled off shore on a paddle board to place a buoy. Shortly after turning back toward the beach, Grees heard loud thrashing in the waters behind him while beach goers began to scream along the shore. Without a backward glimpse he paddled furiously back to the beach. It is unknown whether the shark was a great white or a basking shark. Regardless of what it was, officials stayed on the safe side and the beach was then closed for several hours, reopening the following day.
The sharks have become rather fond of the spotlight lately and there was possibly yet another shark sighting, this time by accident with a tourist’s camera. Suzy Ein had been vacationing with her family in Orleans and, while looking through pictures she had taken at Nauset Beach, saw to her astonishment that when she zoomed in on a picture, there was what seemed to be a dorsal fin protruding from the water. Ironically, the day she shot the photo was Friday the 13th (the same day the as the incident at Nauset Light Beach). At the time the picture was taken, Suzy Ein and John Cartisser said that you couldn’t see anything with just your eyes alone - it was not until later, when they zoomed in on the picture at home, that they saw the fin. Still, while it doesn’t seem to be any kind of seal, it may not have been the great white everyone is expecting, or even a shark at all! But this was only 6 days after the “shark and kayaker” incident had occurred at the same beach; was this just a coincidence?
As soon as somebody screams “Shark!” there is always bound to be a commotion whether one is appropriate or not. For some, a shark in the waters only adds to the appeal of the Cape. The simple building of a sandcastle in the damp sand suddenly turns into an “escape from death” on the drive back to Boston, Worcester or Guilford. That’s not to say that there aren’t real concerns while swimming where sharks have been seen. People are trespassing into territory where sharks are following increased seal populations. However, that shouldn’t stop anyone from going into the water and having a good time. People should be smart and use common sense. If somebody does yell “shark” that would probably be a clue not to go and run into the water for a swim and if you see a seal, staying away from it would be a good idea…. It’s not rocket science. Shark attacks do happen, but they are extremely rare. It is something to keep in the back of your mind. There is a happy medium between keeping a lookout on the horizon and being paranoid. Keep safe and enjoy the beautiful waters that surround Cape Cod.
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- Category: MyBlog
- Published on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 10:43
- Hits: 4639
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