Pacific Coast Shark News 2012
The following reports for 2012 are provided as a public service. They are intended to inform our visitors of current shark activities along the Pacific Coast of North America. To review Pacific Coast Shark News for 2003 click here, for 2004 click here, for 2005 click here, for 2006 news click here, for 2007 click here, for 2008 click here, for 2009 news click here, for 2010 news click here, and for 2011 news click here.
San Onofre State Beach On December 20, 2012 Taylor Murray reported the following; “I was out today with my friend at Trail 4 South of the San Onofre Power Plant. The conditions were very clean. Air temperature was about 65 and water about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It was around 12:00pm. We had been in the water for 30 minutes. I was looking over my shoulder to see the next set coming in when I saw, about 30 yards away, a shark breach. It had a very large/broad black dorsal fin, and a white belly. The shark appeared to be about 7 – 8 feet in length. After looking at pictures online I'd say it was a Great White Shark. As soon as I saw the shark I turned and paddled for the shore and a wave came and took me in. I yelled at my friend to get out of the water. There were 2 other surfers in the water who did not seem to mind. As we were leaving several other surfers arrived and we told them what we saw. They said that it was a common sight and that it was probably a juvenile Great White.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Cruz Island On December 16, 2012 Ray Kennedy and his deckhand Andy Perry were near Forney Cove, Santa Cruz Island. Victoria Sanchez, KEYT, Santa Barbara reported the following;“The two fishermen saw a 12-foot Great White Shark feeding on a wounded seal about 12:00pm. The young Elephant Seal was about a year old and 200 pounds. For 20 minutes the shark was out of the fishermen's sight, then returned but it wasn't alone.‘Just as we thought something was about to occur, a larger shark came up and attacked the seal, started to eat the seal,' said Kennedy. The second shark, around 16 feet long, got as close as 10 feet to the two men on board the boat. Peter Howorth, Director of the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, said ‘sharks feeding on the mammals is a part of the marine ecosystem. He continued; ‘What's a little unusual is the number of attacks we've been having lately. All the suggestions are that the white shark population has been increasing substantially over the last few years.' Kennedy said the one thing that really struck him was not just the length of the sharks that were swimming by, but the girth. The girth was enormous.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Morro Bay On December 11, 2012 Dana Putnam reported the following; “At about 12:00 pm I was surfing300yards from Morro Rock, in Morro Bay, at a break known locally as ‘The Pit.' The closest surfer to me was about 50 – 75 yards away. I was probably about 75 yards from shore in only 6 feet of water. The waves were about 3 – 4 feet in the face. A large body swam underneath me while I was sitting on my surfboard. It appeared to be swimming upside down as I saw a white body. I suspected it might be a dolphin, but I have never had one go so close to me and directly underneath me. After it passed under me a fin popped up about 20 feet away to the Southwest of me. I could not see the profile of the fin because of the angle, so I don't know if it was triangular. The fin came straight up, went down briefly, and then popped back up. It did not go up and down in a rolling motion like I typically see with dolphins. Also, the fin was dark, not light like the belly I saw swim under me. The fin appeared to stick out about 12 inches. I have been surfing for over 35 years and never have got out of the water due to worry about sharks, however, this was strange and I immediately rode in on the whitewater. After I got out I kept watching to see if there was a dolphin, but I did not see any dolphins.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On December 9, 2012 David Brown was Stand-Up-Paddleboarding about one-half mile off Huntington Beach and one mile South of the Huntington Beach Pier. It was 9:00 AM and he had been on the water 90 minutes. It was high tide and the sea was calm with an estimated water temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The sky was clear with a large number of sea birds feeding in the area. There were 2 dolphin in the area but no pinnipeds were observed. Brown reported; “I was paddling my stand up paddle board when I saw a small, 5 – 6 foot, Great White Shark breach completely out of the water. I was approx 40 feet away and had a very clear view. The shark appeared to look right at me. I did not see it again following the breach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Oceanside On November 25, 2012 Aaron Byzak, Director, UC San Diego, Health Sciences, reported the following; “It was 11:00am with a cloudy sky and an estimated air temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was dark with poor visibility and a temperature of 59 – 61 degrees Fahrenheit. There were multiple surfers in the immediate area. While driving south on ‘The Strand' checking the waves I saw a dead sea lion on the beach between Tyson Street and Wisconsin Street in Oceanside, and stopped to investigate. It was about 5 feet in length and had sustained a severe head wound. I observed multiple puncture wounds to the skull as well as a large patch of missing skin. It appeared to be a recent injury as blood was still draining from the puncture wounds and the seal's mouth. It appeared there was a single tooth that penetrated the seal's skull. The beach towel in the photograph is 5 feet in length.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On November 8, 2012 Chris Pinkston reported the following;“There was a dead Sea Lion, 4 – 5 feet in length, found today at El Porto in Manhattan Beach right in front of the main restroom parking lot on the beach. I saw it on my way out to paddle this morning around 6:30am. There was a slight-bit of rainfall as well. It was decapitated but I didn't see any blood, but it seemed fresh as there was no smell to report. There was a school of several Dolphins also swimming as well in the lineup.” This location is within a mile, or less, of Manhattan Beach Pier. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Moss Landing State Beach On November 5, 2012 Rodney Jacques, Meteorologist and surfer, was walking along the shark at Moss Landing State Beach, located between Salinas River State Beach in the South to Zmudowski State Beach in the North in Monterey Bay. It was 4:00 PM under clear skies with an air temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. There were 4 – 7 foot swells with strong rip currents in the area and an estimated water temperature at 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Jaxques reported the following; “While checking the surf at Moss Landing State Beach, I observed a dead seal on the beach. The seal's head was missing and completely severed from the body. The seal had been dead approximately 3 days. There were no visible signs of any other bite marks on the body…only the severed head. The seal was approximately 6 feet long and weighed about 200 pounds. The seal must have been deposited high on the beach due to the tide and wave activity. There were 4 local surfers in the waters in front of the dead seal.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On November 2, 2012 Tony Sullivan, Tim Henion, and Penn Decking were surfing 25 – 30 yards from shore at San Onofre State Beach, Trail 2. It was 11:30am and they had been on the water about 90 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was 10 – 12 feet deep with 1 – 2 feet of visibility and an estimated temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Sullivan reported;“I had been surfing with friends and locals at Trail 2. Penn Decking caught a wave and went in, leaving Tim and I out in the water by ourselves. Tim and I were sitting out in the lineup and the shark caught the corner of my eye, swimming about 3 – 4 feet away from where I was. It was just cruising along slowly, and I made sure to get a good look at what type of shark it was. As it went by, I had to take a look at both the nose and tail of my board to get a size reference on the shark. I was sitting on my board, and just keeping an eye on where it was going. The shark showed no hostility at all, seemed to just be checking Tim and I out. I asked Tim if he saw it, and he nodded to the affirmative. With the shark still in sight, we both caught the next wave and headed in. The shark was 10 – 11 feet in length, dark on top, white under carriage. Water was a bit murky, but the shark came extremely close for me to see the colors.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla On October 31, 2012 Stefanie McNabb reported the following;“At roughly 12:30 PST I noticed surfers getting out of the water around PB Point (Pacific Beach and the old sewer pipe) and Sewers in La Jolla, CA. The weather was overcast with breeze, but no chop on the water. The surf wasn't that big, so they were out probably 20 yards from shore. The water temp was around 66 and air was 70 at the coast. The tide was coming off a high and there was a lot of kelp around this spot with hardly any visibility. They reported that they saw a Mako Shark, Isurus oxyrinchus , eating a seal 10 – 15 feet from their position. They advised that they could tell it was a Mako by its dorsal fin.“ Although pinniped remains have been found previously in Shortfin Mako Sharks, it is a rare occurrence. An attempt to locate one of the surfers for a positive shark ID has been undertaken. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On October 28, 2012 John Suarez was surfing with an unidentified companion at South Ocean Beach, San Francisco, near the parking lot at Sloat Street. It was 8:30 AM and he had been on the water about 75 minutes. There was a light fog with an undetermined number of surfers in the area. The ocean wave faces were running 3 – 5 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Suarez reported; “I saw a shark yesterday morning while surfing. I was sitting on my board waiting for a wave when I saw a dorsal fin, approximately 1.5 – 2 feet high, about 150 feet away coming straight at me from the North-North-West. I saw it for a split second, turned and started paddling for the shore, and came in. My impression was that it was a coincidence that it was coming in a direction straight at me, but I didn't want to stick around to find out. I have seen dolphins many times and I am sure this wasn't a dolphin. I found my friend nearer to shore and told him to come in too. I told a couple of other people on shore and in parking lot, but most of them went out to surf anyway. I was surfing near a rip current and had just paddled South East to get out of it, and I think that is where I spotted the shark, in or near the rip current.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Tajiguas Beach On October 27, 2012 Matthew Smith was diving 300 yards from shore at Tajiguas Beach, located about 25 miles West of Santa Barbara between Refugio and Gaviota State Parks. It was 6:00 PM and he had been in the water about 3 hours, first two hours SCUBA diving and the last hour free-diving. Air and water temperatures were estimated to be 70 and 61 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was clear with a mild 5 miles-per-hour breeze. The water was 20 feet deep with 30 feet of underwater visibility as the sandy ocean floor could be seen easily from the surface. There were three Dolphins about 200 yards West of his location. No pinnipeds were observed in the area or any unusual behavior of other marine organisms. He had in his possession 1 bleeding fish and 4 live California Spiny Lobster, Panulirus interruptus. Smith reported the following;“I was kicking on surface gazing down looking for fish and lobster and to my right I saw a large White Shark swimming slowly towards me. It swam in front of me and was about 10 feet below me as it continued its path and slowly swam by. It was at least 15 feet long in side profile and kept eye contact the entire time it passed by. I splashed out of fear and this startled the shark to twitch and swim away quickly. After this I swam as fast as I could into the kelp and back to shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla On October 20, 2012 Adam Lievers was kayaking just off the rocks in Emerald Cove, East of the main beach at La Jolla Cove. It was about 12:00 PM with a calm ocean surface. The water was 10 feet deep over a rocky reef with 10 – 15 feet of visibility and an estimated temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a heavy marine layer and a light drizzle with an estimated air temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. There were 20 – 30 California Sea Lions, Zalophus californianus, in the area. Lievers reported; “I was paddling a single kayak just off the rocks in 'Emerald Cove.' I was observing numerous sea lions resting on the rocks and playing in the water. One of the sea lions, a mid size female was resting on her own rock in the shelter of the cove allowed me to drift much closer to the rocks than normal without getting up or giving me any warning barks, which I thought was somewhat strange. I see these animals every time I work and I know that if you get to close they will usually give you a bark or growl to let you know. As I drifted past the rock and could see the back portion of the sea lion, there was a large bite clear across its hindquarters about 6 to 8 inches above its rear flippers. When I saw it, the first thought that popped into my head was that it could not be anything but a shark bite, it looked as if the shark had bitten from behind and the sea lion had somehow escaped. The bite looked fresh and was a few inches deep, you could see several layers of blubber and the bottom of the wound had leaked out some fluid or discharge, but there was not much blood. I this is the second or third sea lion I have seen in the last month in the La Jolla Cove area that has had large open shark wounds on it, but this bite to me looked the most serious. I have been guiding kayaks in this area for several years and have only ever seen scars on sea lions, but not open wounds. I have never seen any large sharks in close to the rocks, but have heard about them being spotted by fishermen and kayakers within a mile or two offshore of this location fairly frequently.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On October 17, 2012 John Westersten and an unidentified companion were drifting for California Halibut, Paralichthys californicus, South of Trail # 6 at San Onofre State Beach. It was 11:00 AM and they had been on the water for about 6 hours. The sky was clear with a very mild 2 knot wind and an estimated air temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea was calm over a sandy ocean floor 15 feet deep. Water visibility was 6 – 8 feet with an estimated temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Westersten reported; “We were fishing, but not keeping anything, small chum bag on side of boat. We had been in the immediate area about 20 minutes without a bite and were getting ready to move. We were drifting for halibut outside the surf. The two of us both hooked a fish and both turned out to be Bat Rays, Myliobatis californica , at 15 – 20 pounds. As one of them was about 1 foot from the boat and about 2 feet deep, the shark, unseen before this moment, just came from underneath the boat at a high rate of speed, made a dramatic turn, opened its mouth, grabbed the Bat Ray and moved aggressively down out of sight. Luckily the hooked popped out as the line went slack at the moment of attack. We sat at the spot for about 5 minutes trying to comprehend at what just had happened then got out of the area, we did not see any activity at all after the attack. The shark was 7 – 8 feet in length, a brownish/gray, with large teeth, black eyes, and was very quick and agile.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Isla Vista On October 8, 2012 Aidan Fenwick and an unidentified companion were surfing at Sands Beach, Isla Vista, Santa Barbara County, in front of oil rig Holly, ‘Coal Oil Point.' It was 10:00 AM and they had been on the water about 45 minutes. The sky was clear and the sea glassy and calm. The water was about 7 feet deep at their location and maybe 20 feet deep at the animal's location. The ocean floor is primarily sandy with rocks scattered throughout the area. The air temperature was about 70 degrees Fahrenheit with no estimate for the water, which was “murky.” There is a large kelp forest, about 60 meters further out, “that creates a wall that surrounds the shoreline.” There are numerous pinnipeds that frequent the area that can be seen hauled out on buoys. Fenwick reported;“We were just attempting to surf very small waves when we noticed the shark. It was never closer than 70 meters to us and showed no interest whatsoever in moving closer into the kelp towards shore. The shark was non-aggressive in every manner of the word and very lazily restricted its motion to a gentle and slow circle in the location it was spotted at for about 10 minutes. It was difficult to tell it was a shark at first because the two fins looked relatively close together and were curved with regard to each other like this symbol ) with the big fin being at the top and the small at the bottom. After a while though the shark turned parallel to us and began to very slowly propel itself about 5 meters by gently moving its back fin (the smaller one). At this point we were watching from shore. Finally as quietly as it came it turned out to the ocean and the two fins faded in visibility as it continued swimming out. The shark appeared to have no interest in anything close to shore what so ever and we never got within 70 meters of it so all size approximations and distance judgments should be taken with a grain of salt as approximate.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Davenport Landing On October 7, 2012 Gunnar Proppe was wind surfing about 450 yards from shore at Davenport Landing. He was using a 75 liter windsurfing board (227.5 cm long, 54.4 cm wide), 5 square meter sail clear with red and black and yellow, orange, and blue splotches on the bottom of the board. It was 6:30 PM and he had been on the water about 1 hour. It was sunny and warm with a few high clouds scattered to the South and the wind less than 15 knots. There were a few wind waves with a good swell. There were sea birds diving close to shore. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Proppe recalled; “I had a great session and was heading in for my last tack since the wind was steadily getting weaker. I was sailing pretty slowly (not planing) as I was heading upwind. I noticed sea birds diving near the beach and remembered that could be a sign of schools of fish under the surface, but I'd seen that before so I wasn't too concerned. A couple of minutes later there was a tremendous jolt under my board which threw me into the air. At first I thought I'd hit some kelp but realized quickly that I hadn't been going fast enough to have that kind of impact. I landed in the water, between my board and the sail, which had fallen downwind of the board. I simultaneously felt something brush against my right toe and saw a grayish tan fin, which my hand touched. All I saw was a fin grey/tan in color, 8 – 12 inches high sticking out of the water, but I don't think I was seeing the whole thing. I flailed for a few seconds, trying to scramble onto my board. Eventually I made it onto it and looked to the right to find that the impact had broken the mast about 18 inches up from the base, rendering the sail useless. Knowing that the rig would make paddling impossible, I struggled for a few seconds, trying to detach it and finally got it loose. I lay on my belly and started the long paddle back to shore. My perception of time was probably really skewed at this point, but I estimate that this was about 5 minutes after the attack. At this point there was a surfer in the break and one last windsurfer downwind. I stopped a couple of times, sat up and shouted warnings at them as loud as I could but they didn't seem to hear. After a few more minutes of paddling, I got close enough to the surfer to gesture and shout for him to head to shore, which he eventually did. Just as I was getting to the break, the last windsurfer, Ed, reached me and said he was keeping an eye on me. I managed to catch a wave on my belly, keeping a vice grip on the board, and rode the wave straight to shore, only stopping once I was in 4 inches of water. Once on the beach, I noticed that my toe was bleeding enough to pool up on the rocks. I don't know if I'd already cut it on the reef or if the contact with the shark had sliced it when it brushed by.” This is the sixth authenticated, unprovoked shark attack from the Pacific Coast this year. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Miramar Beach On September 30, 2012 Tom Horne reported the following; “At approximately 4:00pm I came across the upper half of a seal carcass on the southern end of Miramar Beach in Montecito. The seal looked like it had been in the water for some time as the skin and flesh was puffy from the ocean water. I am a local resident and frequent the beach and have never seen a seal carcass with this type of injury. The seal's wound appeared to be a shark bite as the entire lower half was severed in a rough manner which exposed the deliberately cut organs of the animal. The wounds were similar from the pictures posted on September 9th and 10th on the Pacific Coast Shark News page.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
To SRC Members, Friends, and Volunteers I want to thank those of you that joined me last night in La Jolla at The Neurosciences Institute Auditorium. I appreciate your interest in my research and for taking the time to come by and visit with me last night. I would also like to thank Dominique Cano-Stocco, Aaron Byzak, and Sofia Smallstorm for their efforts in alerting the locals to this event. To Jennifier, Hannah, and Rachel Hendrickson and Dave and Kathy Porter, many thanks for your diligent efforts. Special thanks to Cindy McNeill for orchestrating and holding the program together. Without SRC volunteers our conservation and education programs would be greatly diminished. Many thanks to each of you. Again, thanks to all of you that came by, you made my visit very enjoyable.
Santa Barbara On September 26, 2012 Peter Howorth, Director, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center reported the following; "At about 1700 hrs., Davey Smith, an experienced surfer, was waiting for a wave off the Santa Barbara sandspit in about six feet of water. No other surfers were present. The water was murky, temperature 64° Fahrenheit and the sand bottom was not visible. A large shark suddenly appeared, coming toward him very quickly. It passed very close to him and disappeared. Smith went to shore immediately. About a minute later, the shark reappeared swimming very fast in a tight circle. Some pelicans circled the area, but no other birds were seen. Smith did not see any marine mammals or fish in the area. Smith said the shark came partly out of the water. He was able to see part of its head and much of its body. It appeared heavily scarred. It was tan or brown, almost gold above according to Smith, and white underneath. Smith saw the snout only briefly but thought it was pointed but rounded at the tip. He thought the distance between the dorsal and tail fin was 5 – 6 feet, perhaps more. He estimated the overall length at about 14 feet. He was not certain about its girth, but his best estimate was about 3 feet. He noticed a smell in the water but did not elaborate other than to say it was not the usual smell associated with that area. Smith said he had seen white sharks before at Jalama Beach and believed that this was a white shark. Don Barthelmess, from the Santa Barbara City College Marine Diving Technology Program, has known Smith for years and feels he is a reliable witness. Per established protocols, the City has posted shark advisory signs at 17 locations on City Beaches. The advisories will be in place for 72 hours. If there are no other sightings during that time, the signs will be removed at sunset on Saturday, September 29.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla Shores On September 22, 2012 Dominick, the Manager at La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks, reported the following;“A sea lion with an obvious shark bite (still alive) has been spotted at Emerald Cove in La Jolla Shores 30 minutes ago (1:30 PM) by one of our kayak guides.” Additional information will be posted when available. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpinteria On September 20, 2012 Stephen McCullough, Harbor Patrol Supervisor, City of Santa Barbara reported the following;“At 1:45pm, I received a credible report of a 13' Great White Shark sighting 3.5 miles offshore of Carpinteria Beach. It is unlikely this offshore sighting will trigger any beach notices. Dave Beezer, Captain of the charter boat Condor Express, and about 100 passengers, observed the shark for about 3 – 5 minutes. Beezer said he was headed north at 12 knots when he observed a large animal in front of the boat. He slowed and turned to avoid hitting the animal. He then saw it was a Great White about 13' long with a huge girth. He said the water was clear and the shark was clearly identifiable. The shark slowly moved away from the boat as they drove along.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Short Sands Beach, OR On September 19, 2012 Morgan Lipscomb reported the following;“I was hiking the Oregon Coast trail with my friend Mike. We had reached the tip of Cape Falcon, a prominent point of Smugglers Cove, the cove surrounding Short Sands Beach. While resting on the edge of the cape we observed two things; when we got to the edge of the cape we noticed a seal swimming in the rocks below the edge of the cliffs. We then walked about 50 yards, around some brush, to a better view point on the cape. Upon getting to this viewpoint I noticed that all the birds on the cliffs below were flocking to a point out in the open water, maybe 1000 feet into the open water outside the Cove (approximately 1 mile from the beach). There was clearly some activity in the area the birds were headed to as you could see white caps from the water thrashing. As our observations continued we watched a large sea creature (I presume a Great White Shark) take 5 bites out of something in the water. Each bite the ‘Shark' would come up, its head would break the surface, bite, thrash its head back and forth, go back under the water, and then return to do this again 10 – 15 seconds later. On 3 of these bites I observed a dorsal fin and one of those I observed the tail fin as well as the dorsal. After these biting events the shark was seemed to swim away as we did not see it again (maybe it finished eating a seal?). My friend and I observed this event from approximately 1000 feet away so it is hard to say how big the shark was, may around 10 feet. It was big but not huge, big enough to be visible from that distance though. I felt very fortunate to observe this event as it happened very fast and we were simply lucky enough to be at the Cape at that particular time. I have been fascinated with sharks since I was young, have watched tons of shark videos, and 100% confident that what we saw was a Great White Shark based on the observed activities and the sharks found in Oregon waters. Mike was very surprised at what we saw but also confident that we had just seen a Great White feeding.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Arcadia Beach, OR On September 14, 2012 Derek Clayton and two unidentified companions were paddle board surfing at Arcadia Beach several miles South of Cannon Beach, Oregon. It was 3:30 PM and he had been on the water 5 – 10 minutes. There was a coastal fog with visibility about 200 yards and almost no wind. There was a 5 foot swell and very poor water visibility. There were no marine mammals observed in the immediate vicinity. Clayton reported the following;“Two friends and I were working to get outside of a 5 foot break. I took some time and got outside after 10 minutes then began a rhythmic paddle for 1 – 2 minutes outside the break, and ended up 150 yards from shore. I stopped to rest standing on board. I looked to the South and saw a large animal surface about 40 yards away. It had a white underside, gray sides, with the underside facing me but I could also see one eye, and the mouth. It surfaced in ‘tombstone' manner, coming straight up out of the water, showed the underside of head and forward portion of belly in an upright position, then sank down gently at an angle, with its mouth closed. I estimate the area I observed to be 5 – 6 feet of the body, but did not show pectoral fins in doing this. It was a dominating figure at that distance, very large. Friends and I paddled in immediately with no further sighting or incident.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On September 10, 2012 Peter Howorth, Director, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center reported the following; “An adult female harbor seal (61 inches standard length; estimated weight 275 pounds) was attacked by a great white shark this morning. The seal was first seen drifting east at the end of Sand Point Road. Later, it was seen off Carpinteria. The specimen drifted in close enough to be recovered at Linden Avenue. When first seen, some witnesses thought the seal was still alive, while others thought it was dead. When the animal was recovered, it was still bleeding. It also had good color in its gums and palate. Sometime after death, this area becomes pale from lack of oxygen to the tissues. From this, I estimate the time of the attack at soon after 0900 hrs. Two bites were taken out of the animal's pelvic area.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On September 9, 2012 Peter Howorth, Director, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center reported the following;“We received two calls about a young sea lion that swam past several swimmers at Arroyo Burro Beach with a large wound on its back. Upon arrival lifeguards said they had observed the wounds and that they last saw it near the point east of the main beach. We received several additional reports ending with a call that a sea lion matching the description had hauled out on the end of the breakwater. Upon arrival Rick Hubbard, Harbor Patrol had picked up the animal. We recovered the injured animal and returned to the SBMMC. It was a yearling female California sea lion, underweight at 27 pounds. It was blind in its left eye. The wound on its back was typical of wounds inflicted by juvenile great whites, with scalpel-like incisions, triangular cuts into the muscle, and gaps between each tooth mark. A few other tooth marks were visible on each side of the animal. The main wound was past the rib cage and had slashed muscle tissue going as deep as the lining of the GI tract. The wound had been inflicted with the upper jaw of the great white, which is not as unusual as it might seem. The prognosis was hopeless, so we euthanized the animal.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On September 4, 2012 Journalist Pete Thomas reported the following on his web site ‘Pete Thomas Outdoors'; "A great white shark, measuring an estimated 8 – 9 feet, was hooked Tuesday afternoon by an angler fishing for bat rays on the Manhattan Beach Pier. The line was cut after the shark was reeled to the surface and the angler realized he had hooked a state-protected species. Eric Martin, director of the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium at the end of the pier, said the angler willingly cut the line to set the shark free. In early July, a smaller white shark was reeled up from the same South Bay pier and Martin was able to persuade the angler to cut the line only after a heated argument and a call to local police. Of Tuesday's incident Martin said, via email: ‘He actually kept it on the line long enough that I was able to click off a few photos. Then I told him I am cutting the line [and] he said go ahead! I also told him I will give him some photos. He was really happy then. So I guess the main thing was everybody came out ahead. The guy got to fight a great white shark. I got my photos, and the shark was free.' Martin added: ‘I have to say one thing that was funny: Seconds after the shark was set free a swimmer swam right in front of the shark and the shark went under the swimmer and the swimmer had no idea what just swam under him.' White sharks are protected in California. Unlawful take and possession is a misdemeanor and those in violation face possible jail time and hefty fines. Juvenile white sharks utilize Southern California coastal waters as a nursery area. They feed mostly on small fishes and rays, and pose no significant threat to humans.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On August 27, 2012 Mick Kronman, Harbor Operations Manager, City of Santa Barbara, reported the following;“At 2:30 p.m. today, an experienced commercial fisherman spotted a 15-foot white shark at the harbor entrance, on a direct line between the sand pit and the end of Stearns Wharf. The sighting has been deemed credible. As such, the Parks and Recreation Department is posting ‘caution' notices at 14 locations near City beaches, and one on each of five lifeguard towers between Leadbetter Point and East Beach. The County has also been notified. This action reflects standard protocols developed for this type of event and is warranted not only by today's sighting, but in lieu of recent, confirmed white-shark sightings and white-shark attacks on marine mammals in local waters. If there are no other sightings or evidence of attacks on marine life, the signs will come down in 72 hours (Thursday afternoon).” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Jamala On August 25, 2012 Brian Crill was kayak fishing with two companion kayak fishermen were 1.5 miles West of the Jalama Rivermouth near the city of Lompoc and Vandenberg Air Force Base. It was 7:20 AM and they had been on the water 45 – 60 minutes. He recorded air and water temperatures of 63 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The water was 10 – 11 fathoms deep with a flat sand and scattered ‘hard bottom.' Water visibility was 3 – 6 feet with a very calm 1 – 2 foot glassy wind swell. There was a noticeable absence of seals compared to the fishing trip the week before. Crill reported;“While paddling out to fishing area we (total of three kayakers) had stopped to soak a bait for 5 – 10 minutes before moving west along the coast looking for more bait. I had been paddling at a steady pace for maybe 10 minutes with my two partners both inside of me when something made me look directly behind my kayak. It was a feeling that something was following me. I noticed a 2 inch knife blade wake about 35 feet directly behind me, thinking for a second that maybe my un-weighted bait had fallen overboard and I was dragging it. I looked down and saw the bait was still on deck. I immediately looked back again and saw that 20 feet directly behind me was about 8 inches of a dark blue/silver dorsal fin still moving at a steady pace towards me. I calmly yelled ‘Guys don't panic there's a shark right here' at which point because I stopped paddling my kayak turned sideways to the shark. A second later the dorsal fin turned hard about 30 degrees to the right and sunk out of sight. I also noticed a boil/swirl of water break as the tail fin turned the shark. One of the other kayakers saw the dorsal fin as it faded below the surface and a large dark mass. I never did see any of the shark's body. We did not see the shark again but a minute or so after the encounter a large mark appeared on the meter close to the bottom and vanished. We immediately positioned all kayaks in a close group side by side and calmly paddled into the kelp bed 150 yards inside us. We waited a while and after seeing a few seals up the kelp bed we continued fishing for a bountiful catch but with nerves on end.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Francisco On August 20, 2012 the Los Angeles Times reported; “Two area fishermen reported encounters with what were believed to be great white sharks over the weekend, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The first occurred Saturday, August 18, when Rich Fitzpatrick said he saw a fresh, half-eaten seal floating off Marin, the newspaper reported. Fitzpatrick, who broadcast his story over marine radio, said he moved his commercial boat toward the seal for a better look when the shark came back for the rest of its meal. ‘To me, it's exciting to see them. I'm in awe,' Fitzpatrick told the newspaper, adding that he's seen about a dozen great white sharks in his 35-year fishing career.‘They are not scared of anything. They just have one thing on their mind, and that's to eat.' The second encounter was reported about 2 p.m. Sunday, August 19, the Chronicle reported. The charter Outer Limits had come across a school of salmon about eight miles west of Lands End and had been at the spot for hours when a shark swam up, biting a 20-plus-pound salmon an angler had hooked.‘On the side of the boat we saw this massive splash. I looked over and saw the fin and shouted to everybody, 'that's a great white!' Jim Robertson, captain of the boat, told the newspaper. ‘You could see his back, his dorsal, and his tail.' The shark circled the fish before chomping it in half, Robertson said. The shark went back for a second bite, but the angler managed to haul what was left of his catch aboard. ‘Joe had about 8 pounds of the salmon left on the hook,' Robertson told the newspaper.‘The shark got the rest.'” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Little Dume On August 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM, Jamie Dixon was surfing ‘Little Dume,' located between Paradise Cove and Big Dume/Zuma Beach. He reported the following;“I was surfing at Little Dume, about 100 feet beyond 12 other surfers, in glassy conditions about 300 feet from shore. While sitting on my surfboard near the ‘outer reef' I observed a seal or sea lion, 5 feet long, surface about 50 feet from me with a 2.5 foot-long Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata) or Horn Shark (Heterodontus francisci) in its mouth. The pinniped thrashed the shark against the surface of the water as it ate the shark. After about 15 minutes another pinniped arrived and the two pinnipeds appeared to play with the shark carcass, tossing it back and forth while stopping to feed on it periodically.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Oxnard On August 17, 2012 the Ventura County Star reported; “Commercial fishermen based at Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard caught a young great white shark today that was later tagged for future tracking by researchers. It was unclear where the shark was caught, but they docked at Channel Islands Harbor so the fish could be tagged. The male shark, almost 5 feet long, was tagged by researchers from the Southern California Marine Institute so they could ‘track its patterns and find out more about how the sharks live,' said Ken Peterson, a spokesman for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Researchers also drew blood from the shark to learn more about its genetic diversity. The shark was later released back into the ocean. Experts have reported six shark sightings this summer off Santa Barbara County beaches — the latest Tuesday night. According to news reports, great whites were caught by fishermen off Ventura County's coast in 2003 and 2007. Peterson said, 'great whites swim everywhere from Point Conception to Baja California but people enjoying Ventura County waters generally do not need to worry about them. Great whites (juveniles) are fish eaters. They eat schooling fishes, other sharks and rays,' Peterson said. 'They are sharing the waters with people but are not a risk to people.' The tagging of great whites in Southern California is part of a program led by the Monterey Bay Aquarium called Project White Shark. Now in its 11th year, the project aims to preserve great whites and educate the public about the protected species.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On August 17, 2012 Sharon Berle reported the following; “I was walking my dog along the beach near Loon Point (located between Summerland and Carpinteria at the mouth of Toro Canyon Creek, Santa Barbara County). It was 1:30 PM and the sky was clear. I observed a large, ‘really big,' gray triangular shark fin just outside the breakers near Loon Point. The shark was heading west. There were 6 – 8 other individuals on the beach that also observed the shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On August 16, 2012 Peter Howorth, Director, Marine Mammal Center, Santa Barbara provided the following synopsis of recent shark activity in Santa Barbara County: "14 April 2012 Shark attacked adult female sea lion off Stearn's Wharf, Santa Barbara Harbor. Sea lion rescued by harbor patrol, then it was brought to the dock to Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center (SBMMC) volunteers, where it died from shock and blood loss; 20 July 2012 Male southern sea otter attacked at Guadalupe Dunes. Rescued by ranger and brought halfway to Santa Barbara, where it was picked up by SBMMC volunteers. Transferred to Mike Harris of CA Dept. Fish & Game for necropsy; 15-20 July 2012 Adult female California sea lion attacked, received two bites on pelvic area; 25 July 2012 Sea lion above reported on mooring buoy off East Beach, Santa Barbara. Sea lion left when harbor patrol approached too closely; 25 July 2012 Sea lion attacked by shark off Leadbetter Point, Santa Barbara (Properly called Santa Barbara Point). Reported by Dan Collie, charter boat captain; 27 July 2012 Sea lion attacked during period 20-25 July rescued but had to be euthanized; *10-11 August 2012 Male Pacific harbor seal, 5-6 months old, attacked off Carpinteria sea rookery; 12 August 2012 Above harbor seal reported on beach at rookery but washed away before rescued; 13 August 2012 Harbor seal rescued. Bite on dorsal chest and another on pelvic area. Shattered pelvic bones. Animal died 16 August; 14 August 2012 (0930): Eight-foot shark approached paddle boarder closely off Carpinteria. Lifted head out of water to look at person; **14 August 2012 (1720): Shark approached within 5 feet of surfer. It was 5-6 feet between dorsal and caudal fin; girth estimated at 3 feet. Estimated shark at 10 – 14 feet total length; 15 August 2012 6-foot great white seen underwater by urchin diver off Santa Barbara light in afternoon (west of Leadbetter Beach about one mile); and 15 August 2012 Another shark reported seen by surfer friend of urchin diver off Leadbetter. No other details." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara **On August 14, 2012 Santa Barbara issued the following; "At 5:20 p.m. today, a surfer off Leadbetter Point spotted a shark five feet away whose dorsal fin and tail fin were both out of the water. Judging by the reported 6'-7' 'spread' between the shark's fins, plus its reported color and girth, we believe this was a credible sighting of a great white shark. As such, the Waterfront and Parks and Recreation departments have posted 'caution' notices at 14 locations near City beaches, and one on each of five lifeguard towers between Leadbetter Point and East Beach. This action reflects standard protocols developed for this type of event and is warranted not only by tonight's sighting, but in lieu of recent, confirmed white-shark attacks on marine mammals in local waters. If there are no other sightings or evidence of attacks on marine life, the signs will come down in 72 hours (Friday at sunset)." Pleases report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpinteria *On August 14, 2012 Peter Howorth, Director of the Marine Mammal Center in Santa Barbara published the following in the Santa Barbara News Press (edited version); “Another seal was attacked by a great white shark, most likely over the weekend. It was observe at the Casitas Pier and was promptly rescued by Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center volunteers. It was a male harbor seal about five to six months old, weighing nearly 40 pounds. The shark took at least two bites: one on the top of the chest; the other near the tail. Although the wounds are not immediately life-threatening, they are quite serious. From the wounds, which included the impression of the jaws as well as individual teeth marks, it was determined that a juvenile great white shark was responsible for the attack. Such attacks have become increasing common over the past four years and most often occur in early to mid-summer. On April 17 of this year, an attack took place on an adult female California sea lion off Stearn's Wharf. Although the animal was immediately rescued by the Harbor Patrol and Marine Mammal Center volunteers it died from shock and blood loss. On July 20, an adult male sea otter was rescued by a ranger at Guadalupe Dunes but it was dead on arrival at the Center. It had been attacked by a great white shark. On July 25, Dan Collie, a charter boat captain, witnessed a shark attacking a sea lion off Leadbetter Beach. Two days later, an adult female California sea lion was rescued off East Beach. It had two deep bites in the pelvic area. It had to be euthanized. Attacks on pinnipeds and sea otters by juvenile white sharks have definitely increased in Southern California over the past four years. What has changed is that juvenile white sharks have been attacking pinnipeds. Normally, white sharks are about nine to ten feet long before they begin attacking pinnipeds, but over the past four years, many attacks have taken place involving sharks from six to eight feet long. This can be determined by measuring the diameter of the jaw from the wounds, and the width, depth and spacing of individual tooth marks. Are there more juvenile sharks than there once were? Is competition for prey between sharks forcing the juveniles to tackle larger prey? No one knows at this point. Is it safe to enter the water in Santa Barbara? It's probably safer than going on the freeway, but bets can be hedged by avoiding areas frequented by seals, sea lions and sea otters, especially if the animals are swimming nearby. The ocean remains a wild place, and sharks represent only one of many dangers.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla Shores On August 11, 2012 Bryan Parker, SCUBA Instructor, was night diving at La Jolla Shores with two advanced students. The sun was setting and there was a slight breeze with the air temperature about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea was calm and the surf was relatively flat. The water was 20 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Parker reported the following;“I was taking two advanced students out for their night dive. We entered the water at about 8pm. The surf close to shore was 2 – 4 feet, further out the swells were 0 – 2 feet. We had been diving at La Jolla Shores since 3 pm that afternoon. The water temp was approximately 70 – 73 degrees in the shallows and dropped to 66-68 in the submarine canyon. We entered the water directly in front of the showers and swam approximately 270 degrees. We swam just short of the orange buoy 100 – 200 yards from shore. We dropped down and hit the ocean floor at approximately 18 feet. I set my compass to a heading of 270 degrees and we began swimming out to the canyon wall. I had observed a lot of bait fish and a few other species of fish swimming around in the shallows as we swam for the canyon. About three minutes into our dive I panned my light to the right and saw the snout of a shark. Visibility was approximately 10 – 15 feet with our lights. I moved the light across the body of the shark and recognized it as a Soupfin Shark (Galeorhinus galeus), which I have seen plenty of times diving at La Jolla Cove. The shark was swimming very casually and slowly in a northerly direction, although I noticed its pectoral fins were lowered so I am guessing it was hunting. The shark paid no mind to us and continued swimming out of our field of vision.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sea Ranch On August 10, 2012 Drew Arnold and Tony Civitel were free-diving for abalone at Arch Rock near Sea Ranch, located about 100 miles North of San Francisco in Sonoma County. It was 11:30 AM and they had been in the water about 1 hour. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 65 and 56 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was overcast with a brisk 15 – 25 knot wind. The sea was choppy with 5 – 7 foot swells over a rocky bottom 15 feet deep with 20 feet of underwater visibility. There was a sparse kelp forest 75 – 100 feet from their location. A single Harbor Seal, Phoca vitulina, was observed in the water with an additional 6 – 8 animals hauled out on nearby rocks. Neither diver had collected any abs prior to encounter. Arnold reported;“I was abalone diving with Tony Civitel at Arch Rock in Sea Ranch. It was choppy and the wind was picking up so I went to the leeward side of a large rock outcropping and headed seaward by myself. Working increasingly into deeper water I spotted a shark fin sticking out of a small cave in about 18 feet of water. I prodded it with my ab iron with no response. Then I grabbed the tail, pulled and found it lodged. I surfaced, swam back to my dive partner and returned to pull the shark out of the cave. We freed it and noticed that it was still twitching slightly while swimming it back to shore. Once in shallow water no further movement was noticed. I measured the shark with an abalone gauge and it was 38 inches and about 35 pounds. Beautiful black and white coloring and upon closer inspection, noticed 4 small, round puncture holes in the belly perhaps from a Harbor Seal. Due to the large eye and small size, I suspect it is a Salmon Shark.” The shark is a neonate Salmon Shark, Lamna ditropis. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Venice Beach On August 9, 2012 KTLA News Los Angeles reported the following;“Nico Schwarcz may have been looking to catch some fish, but on Thursday he got a little more than he bargained for. The fisherman said he was about three miles off Venice Beach when a huge great white shark swam up to his friend's fishing boat. He said the shark was ‘slowly just circling looking at us......getting closer and closer pretty much.' The shark, which appeared larger than the 18-foot boat, seemed to get aggressive and left a few teeth marks on part of the motor. ‘It was definitely a big enough shark to knock the boat over,' Schwarcz said. Schwarcz and his friend shot some video of the shark then motored right back to shore. ‘Big daddy came around and started circling the boat and then started biting the boat and then we decided to leave,' he said.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Gaviota State Park Pier On August 9, 2012 the Santa Barbara Independent reported; “According to a few regular visitors to Gaviota State Park's pier, a large shark, believed by eye witnesses to be a great white, has been frequenting the area during the past week, swimming in close to the pier's pilings and, in one reported instance, chomping a fish right off a fisherman's line. The rumors come just two weeks after Santa Barbara City officials placed shark warning signs at several area beaches in the wake of an injured adult sea lion — believed by experts to have been on the receiving end of a great white shark bite — washing ashore. Those signs have since come down after 72 hours passed without any further incident.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On August 8, 2012 A. C. (name withheld by request) reported the following; “At around 10:30am I was surfing Ocean Beach, San Francisco, at Quintara Street. Air and water temperatures were in the 50's Fahrenheit, sky was overcast; waves were 1 – 4 feet. There were no other people in the immediate 2 – 3 blocks, one person had gotten out just as I paddled out earlier. I was about 100 meters offshore, paddling and waiting for waves, and saw a very large fin about 100 meters to the north, possibly just slightly further out at a maximum of 105 meters offshore. The area where I saw the fin seemed to have some sea life congregating there, i.e.: a few birds diving in that particular spot. Due to the fin size and wobbly movement, I sat up and took notice right away, but then blew it off as the fin seemed too thin and had too much of a curve to it to be a shark. About 15 seconds later I glanced over and saw a large grey head sticking out of the water in the same area. The head was facing the beach, and as we were about the same distance from shore, I got a good look at the profile. It had a very large, round, black eye, and a wedge shaped, angular snout. I can't define the size as there were no reference points out in the lineup, but if I had to guess, I'd say the shark was 12 feet in length but with no visual cues it was really hard to tell. The shark seemed to have a casual air about it, just hanging out and not making aggressive movements. I paddled to shore and looked for the fin in the water but didn't see it again. At home I looked up the types of dolphins in this area and compared dolphin vs. shark profiles. In the course of looking up dolphin and shark profiles, I learned that great white sharks spy-hop.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Dana Point On August 5, 2012 Kevin Bryan and three unidentified companions were on board a 31 foot fishing vessel 10 miles South of Dana Point. It was 6:00 AM and they had been on the water about 1 hour. The sky was overcast with light variable winds. Recorded air and water temperatures were 62 and 69 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sea was calm with a 1 – 2 foot mixed swell direction and 25 feet of underwater visibility in 200 feet of water. Bryan reported; “My friends and I each have more than 20 years of offshore fishing experience. We were heading South from Dana Point Harbor when we experienced a minor engine issue. We stopped to repair the issue with both engines off and were drifting 2 – 3 knots South with no anchor set. We first spotted and positively identified a Marlin moving at the surface, its fins and tail visible, approximately 25 feet North of the vessel. The Marlin was moving slowly at surface for approximately 3 minutes. After approximately 5 minutes with no surface observations, a relatively large fin was spotted extending vertically from the sea surface approximately 12 – 16 inches about 40 feet off the stern of the drifting vessel. The fin was observed by all four fishermen as was the tip of the tail, which was estimated by all on board to be located 8 – 10 feet behind the dorsal fin. We had live baitfish (sardines) onboard so we began throwing them in the general direction of the slowly circling shark. It had no obvious effect on the shark. It circled the vessel twice then disappeared. The engine repairs were completed and we continued South at 12 knots with no further observations of the shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Newport Beach On August 4, 2012 Chase Corum and Jason ‘Rookie' Hill were surfing the Wedge in Newport Beach. It was 1:00 PM with air and water temperatures estimated at 75 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. There was a light southwest wind and a South swell 2 – 4 feet. Corum reported the following; “We saw the shark casually swimming in the surfline, as close as waist/chest deep water. The shark came to within 4 feet of me. It appeared and reappeared 3 times in a span of 5 minutes. There were approximately 20 people in water, including my friend Jason "Rookie" Hill, who took this photo with his waterproof GoPro camera. None of us attempted to approach shark, nor did we flee. The shark was about 24 inches in length with a distinct dark/white line. We went about bodysurfing as normal due to the shark's small size.” This is a newborn (neonate) Salmon Shark, Lamna ditropis, which are frequently observed in Southern California this time of year. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla On July 31, 2012 Matthew Blanchard and an unidentified dive companion were planning to freedive the Northwest kelp bed near La Jolla Canyon in La Jolla. It was 6:30 PM and they had been on the water for about 45 minutes. The sky was clear and the ocean calm with air and water temperatures estimated at 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The water was approximately 70 feet deep with water visibility about 15 feet. They observed 3 – 4 seals on the surface during their excursion out to the kelp bed. Blanchard reported; “We launched a 10 hp dinghy at about 5:45 PM at the La Jolla Boat Launch. We were going to freedive for California Yellowtail (Seriola lalandi dorsali). As we were motoring in our dingy in search of a good location along the edge of the kelp bed cruising at ~10 mph, a shark appeared in front of our dinghy. Before we could react we ‘ran over' the shark, which was thought to be about 3 feet wide and more than 8 feet in length. When I looked back I saw the shark's head, gills, and a distinct line where the color changed from dark to white. We decided it best not to dive the area.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Topanga State Beach On July 31, 2012 Jared Tennison was surfing at Topanga State Beach, located north of Sunset Beach. It was 6:45 AM and he had been on the water about 45 minutes. It was overcast with an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm and about 20 feet deep over a rocky bottom with an estimated temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Water visibility was limited due to very murky conditions. Pelicans and Sea Gulls were diving on baitfish in the area that would occasionally ‘jump' out of the water. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Tennison reported; “I was sitting on my board about 100 yards out from shore when all of a sudden I felt a bump on my leg. I looked down and saw something dark grey and felt something move against my board. I thought I had drifted shallower and hit a rock (trying to avoid thinking shark) but I realized I was still in deeper water. I then felt a large jolt against the bottom of my board and at the same time something pressing lightly against my leg. I was knocked off my board into the water by the impact. My hand brushed against something and got a bunch of small cuts. When I fell off my board I felt a huge rush of water push me parallel to the beach. I then sprinted to shore dragging my board and watched for 30 minutes but never saw the shark again.” This is the fifth authenticated shark attack this year from the Pacific Coast. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Morro Bay On July 31, 2012 Kathy Willcutt and her son Logan were surfing near Atascadero Beach, north of Morro Rock in Morro Bay. It was 10:00 AM and they had been on the water about 30 minutes. There was a heavy fog with an estimated air temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was only waist deep and very murky with less than a foot of visibility and an estimated temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. There were 4 – 5 surfers in the lineup with 2 paddleboarders further out. Willcutt reported the following; “While waiting for a wave, a seal popped up behind my son. I suggested we take the next wave into the beach, which we did. The paddle boarders farther out saw the shark swim quickly by two surfers and attack the seal a few feet behind us as we rode in. We didn't see the seal again. Once we were out of the water we saw the shark had moved closer to shore and was only 30 – 40 feet from the beach in the ‘white water.' We assume it came in that close to finish off the seal then the shark went straight out to sea very fast. We saw a very large grey dorsal fin, about 2 feet high, but could not see the shark's entire length. Once on the beach we watched the shark for several minutes as it swam north. There were no other marine mammals in the area. The two paddleboarders that witnessed the attack on the seal warned the Parks and Recreation people of the shark's presence.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Tomales Point On July 28, 2012 Blaine Hutson and Jerry Dacruz were trolling for salmon between Tomales Point and Bird Rock located approximately 30 miles northwest of San Francisco in Marin County. It was 10:30 AM and they had been fishing for about 4 hours. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 58 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was overcast and the sea calm with 40 feet of water visibility and a depth of 60 feet. A single Sea Lion was observed while trolling. Hutson reported; “We where trolling for salmon outside of Tomales Bay, headed south from Tomales Point towards Bird Rock. My buddie Jerry Dacruz, was driving the boat so he was watching forward. He yelled shark as he spotted the fin coming right at us traveling parallel to us to the north. It passed us on the port side of the boat. As the two of us jumped to that side of the boat to see it we startled the shark and it turned sharply away from us towards shore and shot away from us downward at a 45 degree angle. The shark was about 14 feet in length, dark on top and white on bottom. Un-mistakable what it was.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Los Angeles/Catalina Island On July 28 & 22, 2012 Barry Chambers, flying for Los Angeles Helicopters, reported the following; “I had two Great White Sharks in the last week, one was Sunday July 22 about 5 miles north of Avalon, it (he) was huge, solid 20+ feet, saw it (him) during the PWC LGB-Catalina Jet Ski race. The second was yesterday, July 28, about 5/7 of a mile due west of LAX, this Great White was about 14 feet in length.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On July 24, 2012, at approximately 11:00 AM, the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center informed Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol of a reported shark-attack wound on a mature sea lion off East Beach. Harbor Patrol responded and photographed the injured animal. Peter Howorth, Director of the Marine Mammal Center, confirmed the wound was from a Great White Shark. Based on this information, the Parks Department has placed warning signs at eight locations along City beaches and on its five lifeguard towers, advising of the attack and advising that swimmers should enter the water at their own risk. This action results from a joint plan for responding to shark sightings and/or attacks developed by the Parks and Recreation and Waterfront departments earlier this summer. Per that plan, the signs will be removed 72 hours after their placement unless further shark activity is observed. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Seascape Beach On July 19, 2012 KSBY News reported; "A 16-foot long Great White Shark was swimming close to shore at Seascape Beach near Aptos in Santa Cruz County, between Rio Del Mar and Opal Cliffs. At 12:45 p.m., helicopter pilot Chris Gularte was flying over the ocean when he spotted a massive Great White Shark swimming about 20 yards offshore. Numerous surfers were catching waves at the time, but they were oblivious that a Great White was hanging out beyond the wave break. The shark was not behaving aggressively and minded its own business as it cruised along Santa Cruz County's coast, the pilot said. Gularte also spotted the ocean predator at Rio Del Mar Beach and next to the cement ship at Seacliff Beach. Gularte is a chief helicopter pilot with a Watsonville-based company called Specialized Helicopters. Because the shark was swimming unusually close to shore, lifeguards posted signs and advised the public to stay out of the ocean at those three beaches. Beach-goers at Rio Del Mar Beach appeared to be either unaware or unfazed by the shark Thursday afternoon. At 3:30 p.m., surfers were still hunting for waves, beach-goers frolicked in waist-deep water, and small children skim boarded along the sand.” This is the same area where a kayaker was attacked by a Great White Shark, 14 – 16 feet in length on July 7, 2012. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On July 16, 2012 Cesar Castellon was surfing 50 yards from shore near the South end of the cliffs at Huntington Beach. It was 6:35 AM and he had been on the water about 30 minutes. There was a light marine layer with a very light breeze and an estimated air temperature in the 60s Fahrenheit. The sea was calm with the sandy ocean bottom 12 – 15 feet deep and a water temperature in the mid-60s Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Castellon reported; “I was paddling back after taking a wave. When I got to my spot I sat waiting for the next set. I notice a dark shadow swimming under me. At first I thought it was a shadow being made from the clouds and sky but when I put my head under the water I could see a shark swimming in my area. It was very dark gray with a very long tail, with a total length maybe as long as my 6' 3” board. I remained calm and just paddled back in. There was a very small crowed this morning, maybe 10 other surfers.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Redondo Beach On July 15, 2012 Casey Annis and a companion were paddleboarding 3 – 4 miles from shore, off Redondo Beach, midway between the R10 Buoy, located one mile off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and the Manhattan Beach Pier. It was 10:30 AM and they had been on the water 2.5 hours. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a trailing downwind 1 – 2 foot swell with an estimated water temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and a 10 knot breeze. A large pod of dolphin was observed 3 – 4 miles southwest of their encounter location. Annis reported; “We were paddling along a course from the R10 buoy to the Manhattan Beach Pier when we spotted the dorsal fin, swimming clearly side-to-side along the surface, and towards us, about 10 yards to our right, between us and the beach. It appeared to be a very young Great White Shark. It had a very small dorsal fin, 7 – 8 inches high, solid dark grey with no darkened or uneven edges. The shark continued along the surface towards us on a parallel course, then once past us, the fin rolled outward (toward the beach) as the animal turned towards the rear of our boards and then dove and disappeared. We continued to paddle at the same speed and direction and never saw it again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pismo Beach On July 13, 2012 Bob Cuddy of Tribune News reported the following; “Pismo Beach officials are posting shark warnings for the next three days after a surfer reported seeing a 12–foot shark 150 yards out from the beach and 150 to 200 yards South of the Pismo Beach pier at 10:25 AM today. The Fire Department says it considers this a ‘credible dangerous animal sighting.' The beach remains open. Battalion Chief Paul Lee told The Tribune the department does not have the authority to ban people from going in the water, but hopes the warning signs will be effective.‘Oceans are a natural environment,' Lee said, and ‘citizens should always use caution during ocean activities.'” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On July 13, 2012 Mark Mcallister reported the following; “My brother and I went to San Onofre to surf but it was too hot so we decided to go for a swim. We swam out about 40 yards from shore to catch a few waves for body surfing. We were engaged in this activity for about 45 minutes before we went ashore. There were no birds or seals in the area. Maybe 15 minutes later a helicopter flew very low, I mean very low and at a slow speed. It hovered where we had just been swimming. A lifeguard suddenly appeared next to me with his floatation device. The helicopter flew down the beach past the point and came back again at a slow speed and low over the water, then stopped again and hovered. A seal breached out of a wave and came up on the beach. My brother thought I was looking at the seal and made a comment about it coming ashore so quickly. However, what appeared in front of me was about a 10 foot Great White Shark in about 4 feet of water. As a wave drew upwards it rolled up with the wave but didn't surface. There was a surfer about 8 feet away and he never saw the shark. The shark dwarfed the surfer and his board, big time, and it was beyond me how the surfer couldn't see the shark. The water was extremely clear and about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. I thought it interesting that no warnings were posted nor did the lifeguard apparently say anything to the other surfers in the area.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach Pier On July 9, 2012 an unidentified fisherman hooked a juvenile Great White Shark while fishing off the Manhattan Beach Pier. At about 8:30 PM the co-director of the Roundhouse Aquarium on the pier was leaving a board meeting when he observed a 5 – 7 foot-long Great White Shark hooked on a fishermen's line. He informed the fishermen that it was illegal to capture the shark and after some heated discussions the line was cut and the shark swam off. Whether the animal sustained any injury from the attempted capture is unknown. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On July 8, 2012 Eric Strobel was surfing Trail 2 at San Onofre State Beach. It was 2:00 PM and he had been on the water about 60 minutes. The sky was clear with a strong wind and an estimated temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea conditions were ‘choppy' with a chest high South swell and an estimated water temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean floor was primarily sand and about 12 feet deep with comparable water visibility. Strobel recounted; “I was sitting outside waiting for larger waves, when I noticed a shark 20 yards in front of me, cruising slow just under the surface of the water. It was dark black in color and continued moving away from me, parallel to the beach. It wasn't the first time I had heard of sharks here. Surf was blown out anyway so I waited and took a wave in. When I was on the beach a guy came down who had been watching from up on the cliff and said did you know a shark swam past you? He said it looked like it was as long as my surfboard, which was 9 feet.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Cruz Island On July 8, 2012 Jimmy Sprague was piloting his 29 foot blue and white Bayliner boat from Santa Barbara Harbor to Santa Cruz Island. It was 11:00 AM and he had been on the water about 40 minutes of the 50 minutes required for crossing. He was 3 miles North of Santa Cruz Island and the sky was overcast with the air temperature estimated at 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The seas were 2 – 3 feet with the waves and mild breeze coming from the West. Water temperature was estimated at 65 degrees Fahrenheit and water visibility about 20 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Sprague reported; “The White Shark was swimming West at the surface. My vessel was heading South from Santa Barbara, towards Painted Cave, Santa Cruz Island. Approximately 3 miles North of the island, I spotted the shark's dorsal fin off my port bow, heading West, towards the boat. I slowed the vessel down and we passed directly in front of the shark. As my boat passed, the shark turned on to his left side, clearly showing the division line of a dark grey top with a white under belly. Its mouth was closed and its black left eye was visible. It was 15 – 17 feet in length and 1 – 2 feet below the surface of the water as we passed. I turned the vessel around to get another look at the shark, but was unable to spot it again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Catalina Channel On July 7, 2012 Bob Barnard was paddling his red 16 foot Chinook Kayak from Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro to Parson's Landing at Catalina Island. It was 10:00 AM and he had been on the water about 3 hours. The sky was clear and the ocean calm. A variety of marine mammals were observed in the water during the trip. Barnard reported; “I was paddling consistently for about 3 hours only stopping to take video of some seals on a buoy, a pod of dolphins, a pod of some sort of small whales, one which was breaching completely out of the water several times. These encounters were about an hour prior to the shark encounter. I stopped to drink some water and urinate. I used my empty water bottle and flushed it a few times with sea water. When I picked up my paddle to start out again I noticed a shark's fin behind me and to my starboard side. Then it saddled right up to my side, its head about mid thigh, no more than 8" from the side of my kayak, and no more than 6" below the surface of the water. It rolled to its right side, looked me right in the eye then began looking me all over for a few seconds. The Great White Shark was longer than my kayak, approximately 17 – 18 feet in length with many scars on its head. It never made contact with the kayak just dove down after that and I did not see it again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Capitola On July 7, 2012 Mel C. (last name withheld by request) was kayak fishing for White Sea Bass, Atractoscion nobilis, and California Halibut, Paralichthys californicus. He reported the following; “Kirk, Chad, and I launched our kayaks next to the Capitola Pier at about 7:15 AM. At about 8:15 Kirk suggested we get our gear ready. We were just outside the kelp beds close to Pleasure Point in about 40 feet of water. I looked to the west and saw a small private boat with 4 passengers about 200 feet away. I noticed I was getting close to the kelp and started slowly pedaling away. At approximately 8:25 AM, I was about half way between my yak buddies and the private boat. It started with a violent jolt on the rear starboard side. The back of my kayak rose a few feet then the attack soon happened. I saw the shark's head come out of the water and bite the starboard underside. Its head was gray and white underneath its mouth. This all happened in about 2 seconds. The force of the attack threw me into the water and turned my kayak completely upside down. I immediately started yelling, SHARK, SHARK! several times. My first instinct was to get on top of the upside down kayak. I tried this once but I just slide off. I see the private boat heading towards me and in a flash decided it's my best chance of survival. I did a slow breast stroke towards the boat and jumped abroad. The only time I was really worried was when my feet were still in the water. The private boaters towed my kayak back to the Capitola Pier. Upon closer examination the Capitola Chief of Police observed a small piece of a tooth embedded in the hull of my kayak. Safety lesson learned: Never go out alone and stay close to your fellow ‘yakkers.' I honestly was never afraid through it all and I knew deep inside everything would be alright.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Swami's State Beach On July 6, 2012 Sofia Smallstorm, of “Sharks Are People Too,” reported the following; “A verified sighting of a Great White Shark at Swami's State Beach in Encinitas occurred 1 hour before sunset on Friday, July 6th . The sighting was verified by a Solana State Beach Lifeguard. A friend of the lifeguard observed a Great White Shark, 14 feet in length, swim under his board while paddling North at the ‘Boneyards,' a reef just North of Swami's State Beach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla On July 2, 2012 Teri Figueroa, journalist with the North County Times, reported the following; “A lifeguard spotted a Great White Shark off the La Jolla coast heading north Monday afternoon, leading authorities to shut down a stretch of the beaches from La Jolla up to Blacks Beach, a lifeguard lieutenant said. ‘We are doing an active search right now,' Buchanan said about 4:15 p.m. Authorities first saw the shark ---- estimated at 12 to 15 feet in length ---- about 3:15 p.m. about 50 yards of the shore, city of San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Greg Buchanan said. He said it was headed south for a while, but then was last seen swimming north. The beach at La Jolla Shores was cleared, and officials posted advisory signs throughout the cove. A search of the area by helicopter and boat was negative. In nearby Del Mar and Solana Beach, lifeguards said they knew the shark had been spotted to the south, so they would keep their eyes open.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Clemente Island On June 29, 2012 Brandon King was snorkeling about 1/2 mile Northwest of White Rock at San Clemente Island. It was 2:00 PM and he had been in the water only 5 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature in the mid-70s Fahrenheit. The sea was calm with an estimated water temperature in the mid-60s Fahrenheit. The depth was 15 – 20 feet with scattered rocks and kelps on the sandy bottom. Water visibility was greater than the depth. A considerable amount of dominant algae (kelp) was present near his location. Marine mammals, specifically pinnipeds, were observed during most of the dives that day, except none were observed at the time of encounter. King reported; “I was snorkeling on the surface with periodic dives to 15 feet. While snorkeling on the surface, a Great White Shark, dark grey in color and 10 – 12 feet in length, crossed perpendicular to me at a depth of 3 feet about 3 or 4 feet in front of me. It was moving slowly. I swam quickly to another snorkeler in kelp about 30 feet away. After discussing the encounter, we decided to return to the boat, which was about 100 feet away. The shark was not observed again after initial encounter.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Marina del Rey On June 28, 2012 Jake McManus was surfing at Marina del Rey. It was 11:00 AM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. There was a light overcast with air and water temperatures estimated to be 67 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The ocean was calm with a depth of about 6 feet at the encounter location. No marine mammals were observed in the immediate area. McManus reported; “I noticed a fin (shark) and didn't believe at first it was a shark. I figured it was a dolphin, but upon closer inspection the fin type and color was not that of a dolphin. Plus, the silhouette of the creature underneath the water, and its manner of movement was not dolphin like. The animal remained off the tip of my board at a distance of 10 – 20 yards for a couple of minutes. The dorsal fin was triangular with a jagged and a dark grey color. I tried pulling my limbs above the board and began moving towards the shore with quick powerful strokes. I lost sight of the beast trying to get back to shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Marina State Beach On June 27, 2012 Dennis Taylor, Staff Writer with the Monterey County Herald reported the following; “It was huge, it was battle-scarred, and apparently it was well-fed, say two veteran watermen who had a close encounter at Marina State Beach with what they believe was a Great White Shark. Skip Lombos, a surfer, and Dr. Alex Holmes, who was on a stand-up paddle board, got a good look at what they estimate was a 14-foot sea predator about 9:00 AM in 6 to 8 feet of water. Holmes estimated the shark swam only three feet below his board. The sighting occurred about 100 yards from the spot where Eric Tarrantino was bitten by a shark in October 2011 and Todd Endris was attacked in August 2007. ‘We were surfing Marina State Beach as we do every morning, and noticed an unusual amount of dolphin activity. They were actually riding the waves with us, which was a lot of fun,' said Holmes, a Monterey resident.‘ I was on my stand-up paddle board, with a really clear vision to the bottom, and happened to notice what appeared to be a large shadow moving toward me.' Holmes said he assumed the shadow was a large dolphin until it swam directly underneath his 10-foot board and he got a good look at the animal's movements. ‘The motion was side-to-side, not the up-and-down movement of a dolphin, and it was unmistakably a very large shark. I didn't get a look at its underside, of course, but it was pretty unmistakably a Great White.' Lombos, one of the surfers who helped apply a tourniquet to Tarrantino's arm in October, was in a nearby lineup with a half-dozen other surfers on Wednesday when Holmes had his encounter. He, too, got a good look. ‘Alex's board is a 10-footer and this shark dwarfed his board,' he said. 'It was real big, it was all scarred up, and it was pretty nasty looking,' Lombos said. Holmes said the shark that swam under his board was past him before he had time to feel frightened. ‘If I had realized what it was when it was swimming toward me, I probably would have been unnerved,' he said. ‘But it was already cruising away from me, non-aggressive, by the time I knew it was a shark, so it was more amazing than anything. It was a very big and beautiful creature.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla Cove On June 23, 2012 SCUBA Instructor Bryan Parker and Ben Harshman were SCUBA diving at La Jolla Cove. It was between 1:15 and 1:30 PM and they had been in the water 20 – 25 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a strong ocean surge with swells 2 – 3 feet and a depth of 33 feet. The ocean floor was primarily rocky with scattered areas of sand within a dense kelp forest. Water temperature was estimated at 66 degrees Fahrenheit with water visibility 5 – 8 feet. A single Harbor Seal, Phoca vitulina , was observed during the dive swimming toward shore from the open sea. Parker reported; “We entered the water at the base of the stairs at La Jolla Cove. We swam on the surface to the edge of the rocks at a heading of approximately 30 degrees. Once at the edge of the cove we descended and swam at a heading of approximately 30 degrees. We moved very quickly even though there was a fair amount of surge. We swam past the yellow buoy (I believe that's the half mile buoy but not sure) until I found a clearing in the center of some kelp at about 28 – 33 feet. I removed a plastic bottle from my BCD pocket and began twisting and turning it so it made a crunching noise. I did this off and on for 6 – 8 minutes. As I did this we spotted a couple Soupfin Sharks, Galeorhinus galeus, which were 6 – 8 feet above us. Then we spotted a couple big broad nosed Sevengill Sharks, Notorynchus cepedianus, one was circling us, the others swam by and ignored us. At one point, around 38 minutes into the dive, a Harbor Seal swam by, it was either before this or just after that one of the divers in my group thought he saw a Great White. He said he saw a shark with a pointy snout, baring its teeth and had a distinct color between the top and belly (dark on top, white underside). Another diver in our group gave me the ‘big fish' signal followed by the traditional shark hand signal used by divers not long after we saw the Harbor Seal swim by. I decided at that point to take the group back to shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Imperial Beach On June 22, 2012 Coby Fox and two companions were walking on the Imperial Beach Pier in San Diego County. It was between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM. They had walked about ¾ of the way to the end of the pier. There were about a dozen pinnipeds in the water about 150 yards off the North side of the pier. There was a large amount of baitfish in the water being chased by the seals and sea lions. Weather conditions were sunny with a recorded air and water temperature of 70 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, respectiveley. There was a rip current that started at the shore line and continued to about 3/4 of the pier's length and was at least 50 yards wide. Water clarity looking from the pier was murky until you reached the edge of the rip current. Fox reported the following; “While walking on the pier we saw a group of seals mixed with sea lions making a run to shore with some of them breaking water as they swam towards the rip current and the shallow surf zone. What I then noticed was a dark object float up to the top of the water. While looking at it I couldn't really make out what it was until I saw the swells start to make it roll and I recognized it as a seal. I thought that it was just floating around chasing the baitfish, as the seals frequently do around the pier. The seal began to roll with the incoming swells. I observed a lot of white meat showing on it when it started to roll around and figured that the seals and sea lions were not just swimming to the shallow water for food but perhaps they were being chased. I then called the local sheriff's office and asked if they could put me in contact with the local life guard at the beach. When I was connected I told them that there was a group of seals heading towards the beach in a way I've never seen and a short way behind them one had popped up motionless and had what looked like bite marks on it. I waited for the surf to bring in the seal to see what had happened to it and if it had been bit. When it washed up onshore I noticed it no longer had a head. There were multiple bites to the tail, abdomen, and head areas and all of the flippers had been removed.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pacific Beach On June 22, 2012 Diane Temmerman reported the following;“ I saw a fin about 30 – 50 yards offshore from Pacific Beach, San Diego. I was surfing and saw a fin come up in between waves and it slowly cruised at least a few yards. It was probably 20 – 30 feet from me. It was not a dolphin or a seal. It appeared to be about 10 – 12 inches out of the water. I was not able to see the body because I immediately turned around to go back in to shore. This occurred between 4 – 5 PM.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Morro Strand Beach On June 14, 2012 Eric Hixon was surfing 20 yards from shore at Morro Strand Beach, Morro Bay. It was about 6:10 PM and he had been on the water 15 – 20 minutes. The sky was overcast with air and water temperatures estimated at 57 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The ocean was choppy with poor water visibility and a depth of 8 – 10 feet over a sandy bottom. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Hixon reported;“About 15 minutes in water with waves about head high, inconsistent and mostly walled. I was sitting on the outside then saw a large triangular dorsal fin about 40 – 50 yards North of me. About 5 minutes later I then saw a large pointed head out of the water aimed in my direction from North, about 2 – 3 feet out of the water same location)then it went down below surface. About 30 seconds later as I was paddling for outside wave water exploded 1 – 2 feet behind me to my North like cylinder about 3 feet across then I saw last 3 feet of body torpedo shape and tapering neck like tail with lateral ridges and white bottom as it re-enter water about two feet directly North of me while still paddling for the set wave. My estimate of length is by the last approximate 1/3rd of body/tail seen when re-entering water that was about 3 – 4 feet, or a total length of 10 – 12 feet. The triangular dorsal fin was far away, 40 plus yards, but seems like it would be about 2 feet out of the water. I caught wave going right, South from the shark, I fell but quickly back on board to belly the next white wash to beach. No injury.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Westhaven State Park, WA On June 12, 2012 Maxwell Wilson and a companion were surfing Westhaven State Park near Westport, Washington. It was 10:00 AM and they had been on the water about 90 minutes. The sky was cloudy with a light wind and a strong smell of salt in the air. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the upper 60s and 50s Fahrenheit, respectively. The ocean was calm and 20 feet deep with limited underwater visibility of 4 – 6 feet due to a ‘green' algae bloom. Wilson reported; “My friend and I paddled out around 8:30 AM at the Jetty at the Westhaven State Park in Westport, Washington. The air smelled very salty and at first there was little sign of marine life. About a half hour into surfing, we began to notice several seals, as well as large flocks of seabirds (Seagulls, Pelicans), begin to move into the area. Both of us noticed the seals swimming close to the two of us. After catching a wave I paddled back out and took my spot in the lineup waiting for a wave. My friend was a good 20 yards in front of me with no other surfer's insight. At this point the two of us had seen several water boils nearby. Looking out at the horizon with my head aimed slightly left I heard a large splash/thrashing sound from my right. Spinning to my right I caught the tail of a large Great White Shark re-entering the water. It did not look as if it had breached fully. I quickly turned for the first wave to come through and rode it into shore, warning my friend to ‘Get in, NOW.' As the two of us walked up the sand dune to the parking lot, we stopped and watched the water from a higher vantage point. The large flocks of birds were now gathering at a single point in the lineup very near the sighting, as if trying to feed on remains of an attack. Also, several large thrashing disturbances were observed in the swarm of birds, we were too far away to make out the disturbance, but I can only assume it was the shark feeding. We took off our suits, warned all the surfers in the area and headed home. I only saw the back half of the shark from the dorsal fin to the tail. However, it was very large, probably larger than my car for sure. My guess is 12 – 15 feet long.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Balboa Beach Pier On June 10, 2012 John Rhone was sailing one mile offshore from the Balboa Beach Pier. It was 3:30 PM under a sunny sky with an estimated air temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with a moderate two foot swell. Water visibility was about 10 feet with the depth at this location 180 feet. Rhone recalled; “I was sailing north at about 5 knots. I saw a dorsal fin and it passed about 3 feet from the boat. The shark was clearly visible and swimming South. We basically looked eye to eye as the shark passed the sailboat. It was swimming slow, and was surfaced. It remained surfaced and I saw the dorsal fin for about 30 seconds before it disappeared. The shark was 6 – 7 feet in length, grey on top and white on the bottom, which was visible when it rolled slightly on its side.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On June 3, 2012 John Spoelder was surfing near the "Point" at San Onofre State Beach. It was 3:00 PM and he was 150 yards from shore. The sky was clear with air and water temperatures estimated at 72 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Marine mammals had been observed in the area earlier in the day. Spoelder reported; “I observed a Great White Shark, 8 – 10 feet in length, breach off the Point at San Onofre State Beach. It came completely out of the water. There were about 5-7 surfers in area and at least two saw the shark breach. One of the surfers told me his daughter had observed a similar event earlier in the day at the same location.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset Beach On May 31, 2012 while waiting for a colleague, Ralph S. Collier, Shark Research Committee, was in the parking lot at Gladstone's Restaurant observing 2 SUP's that were about 100 yards from shore at Sunset Beach. It was 12:55 PM with a scattered light marine layer under a clear sky. While observing the SUP's, a white shark, 12 – 14 feet in length, breached about 200 yards beyond their location. A small pod of dolphins had moved through the area about 20 minutes prior to the shark's breach. The shark was not observed again. Neither rider saw the shark breach. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Big Sur On May 21, 2012 Drew Arnold was SCUBA diving North of Willow Creek at Big Sur. It was 9:00 AM and he had been in the water about 1.5 hours. Air and water temperatures were estimated to be in the low 60s and 50s Fahrenheit respectively. There was a heavy fog and a calm ocean with a small, close interval swell. It was low tide. Arnold reported the following; “I had started my dive about 7:30 AM. I had exited the water about 9:00 AM, put my tank up on the rocks and was preparing to continue free diving. As I approached the entry spot, I noticed a sea lion lying atop a large rock I had not seen before in the same area I had been diving. I thought it odd as I have been diving this location regularly for 5 years and had never seen a sea lion in the water let alone on a rock. Also thought it odd it went up on a high rock instead of going to the beach only a few yards away. The animal looked tattered but was alert and very aware of me. It lifted its tail and there was a white and red stump where its tail flippers should have been. I did not go back into the water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Cambria On May 12, 2012 Joey Nocchi, James Byon, and Matt Kerschke, had been kayak fishing North of Leffingwell Landing off Moonstone Beach near Cambria, which is just South of Hearst Castle, San Simeon. They entered the water at a 6:30 AM. The sky was overcast with air and water temperatures estimated in the mid-60s Fahrenheit. They were returning to Leffingwell Landing, their launch location, at 2:30 PM and were 150 – 200 yards from the shore. The water visibility was 10 feet with a recorded bottom depth of 30 feet. Throughout the day's fishing they observed several pinnipeds and a number of whales. Nocchi reported the following;“During our return trip I fell behind my two friends. I was taking just nice fluid strokes just cruising along and I got hit from the bottom and it sounded like somebody hit my kayak with a base ball bat. Suddenly, my kayak’s stern was struck from below with such force that the kayak and I were thrown 5 feet into the air. I was ejected out the port side of my kayak into the water. The shark flipped the kayak over and landed between it and me. I had my life vest on and it came across me, and I didn't want to touch it. I had my hands back but his tail came across me and I felt his skin on my hands and it was a pretty crazy, eery feeling. It struck me and the kayak with its tail as into swam off. My friends saw the Great White Shark while it was in the air and thought it was approximately 15 feet in length.” Additional information will be posted when it becomes available. Pleases report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Catalina Island On May 6, 2012 the County of Los Angeles Fire Department issued the following Press Release; “A 15 year-old female paddlboarder, Rose McKereghan, had an encounter with a shark off the coast of Catalina Island approximately 200 yards from shore. She was not injured in the incident; however, the paddleboard was biten several times. She was with a group of other paddleboarders approximetely one mile (North) from the Avalon area in a remote area of the island. After this incident, immediate notifications began to the public including camps, beach rentals, yacht clubs, and waterfront businesses on Catalina Island. Swimmers, divers, and small craft operators are advised to use extreme caution in the water around Catalina Island. Although this is an extremely rare occurance, the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Rescue Boat crews on Catalina Island have been and will continue to maintain constant patrols throughout the area and have reported nothing has been seen up to this point in time.” Any physical contact between a shark and a subject or piece of equipment being utilized by the subject, without a provocative action by the subject, constitutes an unprovoked shark attack. Three distinct jaw dentition impressions are visible in the photograph. A positive identification of the causal species and its size are not possible without examination and measurements of the board. Thankfully the young lady was not physically injured. Photograph courtsey of SUP Magazine. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On May 6, 2012 Derrick Jacobson, Tom Kratky, and Alex Banta were surfing Golden West, Huntington Beach. It was 11:15 AM they had been on the water about one hour. The sky was clear with air and water temperatures estimated at 70 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. There were 3 – 6 foot waves and a mild current over a sandy ocean floor 10 – 12 feet deep. Three or four California Sea Lions, Zalophus californianus, were observed throughout the day swimming through the waves and coming to within 20 yards of the shore on several occasions. Jacobson reported the following; “I was paddling out to my friends when I saw a huge fin heading North and immediately stopped moving and told my friends what I had seen. They paddled over to me and we kept watching and saw the same fin pop up again about 30 – 40 yards away from our location. We paddled in to shore and kept watching and saw a huge grey shadow swim through the wave where we had been about 5 minutes prior to paddling in. It was just cruising and probably hunting the Sea Lions we saw in the area. We got back in the water about 30 minutes later 200 yards down the beach (South) and continued surfing. We continued seeing Sea Lions and my friend had said he saw another fin before getting out, but I never saw it again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Paradise Cove On May 6, 2012 Helicopt Pilot Chris Devicariis reported the following;“While flying a tour today I spotted a shark at around 5:15 PM approximately one mile South of Paradise Cove. I'm unsure as to what type of shark. A passenger said the shark was slightly smaller than a personal size kayak that was nearby.” Please report any shark sightings, encounters, or attacks to the Shark Research Committee.
King Harbor On May 5, 2012 Mark Ball and an unidentified companion were departing King Harbor, located North of Palos Verdes, to engage in spearfishing. It was 9:30 AM under a sunny sky with a 10 knot wind. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 68 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. There was a 2 foot swell with 10 – 15 feet of water visibility and a light wind chop from the prevailing breeze. About a dozen California Sea Lions, Zalophus californianus, were observed on the buoy just outside the harbor entrance with several more inside the harbor. Ball reported the following; “A friend and I went out of King Harbor, just North of Palos Verdes (L.A. area), in his 10 foot inflatable with a 10hp motor to do some spearfishing in the kelp beds about 3 miles out. As we were leaving the harbor through the ‘pinch-zone,' between the two jetties, a 12 foot Great White Shark jetted up from below and did a quick ‘fly-by' from right to left about 4 or 5 feet below the front of the boat, where I was sitting. The sun was out and lit the shark up beautifully. I could see it in amazing detail for about a second-and-a-half as it appeared to check us out. It seemed to be simply gliding as it swam under the boat, no swimming motion or tail movement was seen. The only visible movement was that it gently rolled to its right as if to better observe us with its left eye as it passed.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla On April 24, 2012 Ty Ponder reported the following; “My friend and I were drifting for Yellowtail in 250 feet of water about 2 miles off of the beach on the Northwest corner of La Jolla. My friend said, ‘Look at that huge fin coming up behind us.' The fin and the body was behemoth. In the distance the body looked the size of a small whale. As we watched it come slowly straight to the boat I knew it was a very large shark fin. As it got closer I could tell that it was a Great White or huge Mako or something of that nature. The only thing that threw me off was the extraordinary size of this shark. It felt like the same length and seemed as big around as the beam on my 22' Center Console...Almost unbelievable. As it approached I had to locate my cell camera and took a few pictures in the distance. Only one of them came out. As it closed the distance my fat finger had accidentally turned off my camera function on the phone. My friend kept wanting to cast a jig at it to see what it would do to it and I was saying no way, that it was coming to the boat and I wanted to see it up close. The shark came within about 15 yards of the boat starboard side and we got an excellent view. There was no mistaking it as a Great White. The shark then quickly whipped around and headed slowly to the north. When it turned, it sort of came up on its side and we could see the big, white underbelly. During this time I was trying to get my cell camera back on and find the video function but I never got to it, mostly mesmerized and partially ‘spazzed' out. The shark then cruised out to my free-lined mackerel and hung out by it for a few minutes before sinking out of sight. I'm pretty sure it was headed to the south. The whole thing lasted several minutes.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Venice Beach On April 20, 2012 Brice (last name withheld) reported the following; “I was surfing the Venice Beach Breakwater. The sighting was about 5 feet beyond the breakwater rocks. The tide was medium low. I had a hard time believing what I saw so decide to research it before commenting. I have been surfing for over 20 years so am very familiar with dolphin movements. This fin movement observation was as follows. The fin was predominantly light grey; it faded from grey to lighter grey. The fin was approximately 2+ feet wide and about as long as it was tall. I only saw a dorsal fin and did not see a caudal fin. I thought with sharks you would see 2 fins. It covered a range of about 15 feet in a few seconds. It was moving along the shoreline perpendicular toward Santa Monica. To me the notable aspect of the movement was that it was very straight and very fast. As well the color, it was a medium grey to light grey to almost white grey.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Leo Carrillo State Beach On April 15, 2012 John Green was surfing 300 yards from shore at the North end of Heavens at Leo Carrillo State Beach located about 20 miles North of Malibu. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the low 70s and 50s Fahrenheit, respectively. Green reported the following; “I was out surfing and after an hour, some whales appeared close to the shore. The whales seemed to be Grey Whales and huddled together. Their top fins on their backs were very small and on their lower back. The shark fin was seen 20 minutes after noticing the whales. The shark fin stood out and looked obviously different and was definitely triangular at least over 2 feet wide at the base and the fin stood 2 feet out of the water and glided across the surface of the water not like the whales. Then I realized there was a small young whale with the other two whales. Before I noticed the shark fin and the young whale, a bunch of dolphins excited about something going on with the whales. I looked at the triangular come out a couple times and started to realize it was not a whale fin and much lighter in color and it hit me that I was looking at a Great White possibly trying to get to the small whale. This all went on for about 30 minutes or a little longer. After noticing the shark fin the whales and dolphins were gone. I was in the water when this was going on. When I realized that the one fin was not a whale but a shark, I felt very uncomfortable about being in the water and caught one last wave out. I did not think the shark would come in for us surfer since it was busy chasing the whales. I talked with a few other surfers who saw the shark fin and they noticed it but did not realize it was a shark until I ask them did they notice the way it was moving and how big it was and how much different it was compared to the whales. The shark was light grey in color and 16 – 20 feet in length. They were a bit stunned when I brought it to their attention. I have been surfing for over 15 years here in California on a regular basis at least twice to 5 days a week and have had many shark encounters but not like this one.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Laguna Beach On April 9, 2012 Michael Geraci reported the following; “I was paddling with my friend Daren Eudlay 150 yards off of Victoria Beach (we both live there). We were on the outside of the kelp bed over water about 80 feet deep. As we got to Agate we spotted a group of dolphins and seals running together. We approach the group as Daren was a few board lengths in front of me. He looked back and yelled, What is that? I turned my head left and looked down into the water. There was an 8foot White Shark cruising by my board after it came up from behind. The first thing I noticed was the giant girth of his/her belly and then my eyes went to its rudder tail. When I saw the vertical tail the shock set in. I then glanced at the fish's snout and it was indeed prominent as a white's is. The white belly was almost glowing in the water with excellent visibility. For about four seconds I had a shark companion cruising with me like a submarine and then it descended. That's when we became the most frightened.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Moonstone Beach On March 30, 2012 Mark Garman reported following after interviewing a very credible, experienced surfer. The surfer recounted; “I was surfing at Santa Rosa Creek, Moonstone Beach, in Cambria near Moonstone Beach Drive at about 9:30 AM. The surf was 2 – 3 feet with a mixed northwest swell of between 9 and 13 seconds so the water was disorganized due to the wind-swell. The wind was just starting to increase out of the northwest, but there were no whitecaps developing at the time of the sighting. The tide was low, in the 1 foot range, and decreasing so the water was shallow. The sandbar was flat with no dramatic drop off zone on the inside of the breaking waves. When I sighted the shark it was probably less than 30 feet from me just outside of the breaking waves only by a few feet. I saw a front dorsal fin that was not porpoising at all, but rather cruising very steady and fast straight in toward the direction of the shore at a very fast rate. The fin had no rake in the rear, and the water was shearing off of the two sides of the dorsal fin exactly like the bow wave of a Navy destroyer. This bow wave feature was the most striking element to this sighting; it was the most perfect water feature that you can imagine splitting the water very precisely. I kept my eye on the dorsal fin as it came straight towards me…it then turned very slightly to the south so that I could get a clean side view of the rear of the fin, but I could not see a rear dorsal fin trailing. I would say that the dorsal was about 20 inches out of the water, and since I couldn't see a rear fin I think that the shark was rather large in the 12+ foot range to leave that rear fin submerged. As for the color, it was grey solid grey not too dark. It then went under water slowly deepening until only a few inches breached the surface leaving a trailing wake that could be seen for a few feet even when after it was completely submerged. I paddled to the north in the opposite direction and shared the sighting info with the nearest surfer and then rode into shallow (knee deep) water, and watched carefully hoping that I would see a bunch of dolphins to nullify what I had seen. I did not see any dolphins or the dorsal again. At the time of the sighting there was a raft of otters North 100 yards at Weymouth Street about 40 yards from shore, maybe 3 to 4 large otters, and a dead seal on the beach at the high tide line 30 yards south of where the sighting occurred.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On March 30, 2012 Brant Bishop and John Spoelder were surfing Trail 1, San Onofre State Beach. It was 6:30 PM and they had been on the water about 60 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Sea conditions were glassy with a west-northwest swell and head high waves. The water was about 15 feet deep over a sand and cobblestone bottom with 5 – 10 feet of water visibility and a temperature of approximately 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Several Dolphins were observed ‘frolicking' 250 yards off shore 100 yards southwest of their location. Bishop reported the following; “While we were waiting for a set, I was positioned upright on my board. We were 150 yards from shore over a rock reef located directly off the trail head, when we noticed what appeared to be a large boil 30 feet in front of our position. We then saw the sharks dorsal and tail fins rise out of the water heading directly at me then submerge just a few feet from the nose of my board. Upon seeing the shark, I simply lifted my hands and feet from the water and waited a few minutes before I resumed surfing. There were 2 other surfers in the area and 1 of them witnessed the encounter. No one left the water. I estimate the length of the shark to be just slightly shorter than my board, which is 9 feet 7 inches and Spoelder thought it was 5 feet between the dorsal fin and tail. It was dark on the top and fairly rotund. Our best guess is that it was an adolescent White Shark just being curious. The animal did not attempt to make contact nor did anyone see it again. We continued surfing for 30 – 45 minutes before going ashore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Waddell Creek Beach On March 11, 2012 a White Shark was observed feeding on a pinniped. On March 14, Stephen Baxter of the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported the following; “A great white shark leaped from the water and attacked an elephant seal off Waddell Creek Beach this week, State Parks rangers reported. Surfers on the beach spotted the attack about 150 yards off the creek mouth about 11 a.m. Sunday, March 11, according to Chip Bockman, State Parks Lifeguard Supervisor. Surfers reported it to a ranger. They saw a blood slick on the water after the attack. No one was in the water at the time. Sunday, the feeding prompted rangers to post signs about the attack in the Waddell Creek parking lot and on the beach. They advised against surfing, swimming and other water activities. Rangers determined the attack was not a ‘direct threat' to humans in part because it was outside the surf zone. As a precaution, they plan to keep the signs posted through the weekend. 'It was a normal interaction with a seal and a shark,' said Terry Kaiser, supervising State Parks Ranger for Año Nuevo State Park. ‘It's not uncommon for sharks to be in the area.' Kaiser said rangers routinely see dead seals in the vicinity of Año Nuevo Island, just north of Waddell Creek. Kaiser said sharks usually ‘know what they want and it's not us.' Not many people have been surfing near Waddell this week because of stormy surf conditions.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Cruz On March 9, 2012 Ken Jarvis reported the following; “I was walking with my service dog, Sandy, from the parking lot at Lighthouse Point towards the beach. The evening was clear with unlimited visibility. The surf was negligible and there was no wind to speak of. The time was 1700 hours (5:00 PM). I know this because I had just checked AyeTides on my iphone. The low tide was .16 meters at 1659 hours. I had stopped to watch an otter drifting on its back to the right of seal rock by about two hundred yards and just a bit further out. The attack could in no way be described as violent. Graceful would be a much better description. One moment the otter was bobbing along and next it was gone. There was no blood slick. No violent thrashing. The shark came from deeper water, opened its mouth, took the otter and went down. It was the same rolling motion that dolphins use when traveling. The most striking thing was the pointed nose of the shark and how shiny and dark its skin was. I could see the shark from the nose to the gill slits. After it submerged I did not see it again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Hermosa Beach On March 3, 2012 Matt Agnitch was playing beach volleyball near 19th Street in Hermosa Beach. It was 2:00 PM with a clear sky and mild winds. The ocean was calm with poor surf of 1 – 2 feet. There were no marine mammals observed in the area. Agnitch reported the following;“I am a frequent surfer of the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach area. Unfortunately, the surf was not worthwhile on this day. In between a game of volleyball I saw a large, dark grey body breach the water about 50 yards off the coast. The animal reached about 6 feet above the water. I don't have any hard evidence that this was in fact a shark (Great White), but because of the large girth of the body, I am assuming that it was a shark. I have seen many dolphins in the area, but I have never seen a dolphin with such a large body nor vertically breach the water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla On March 3, 2012 Justin Cochran was observing the ocean near the La Jolla Kelp Forest, which is located about 300 yards from La Jolla Cove. It was 12:40 PM with a clear sky, light to variable winds and an air temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cochran reported; “I observed a large shark, about 14 feet in length, feeding on an unknown prey about 0.7 of a mile from shore. I watched the shark moving at the surface for about 2 minutes.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On March 3, 2012 Dominic Lerma, Marine Safety Lieutenant, Fire-Rescue Department, San Diego, reported the following;“Lifeguard dispatch was contacted via phone by Rob Harden, an experienced fishing captain with many years of on water experience. He operates a 48' Riviera out of Point Loma Marina in San Diego Bay. Mr. Harden related the following: At 0810 hours, while operating my vessel approximately one mile south west of the Ocean Beach Pier and 500 yards outside the kelp line, I observed a disturbance in the water 300 yards dead ahead of my course. I observed a crashing of water with a grey object that appeared to be a shark. I kept my course and when I arrived at the location, I saw a large pool of blood and the head and neck of a sea lion. The head and remain body was approximately two feet in length. The sea lion appeared to have been freshly killed. The pool of blood was ten feet in diameter. I did not see the shark again. At 0940 hours I contacted lifeguards via cell phone and reported the incident.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pacific Beach On February 28, 2012 David Maimes was surfing Pacific Beach just South of PS 119 between Law and Tourmaline Streets. It was 3:20 PM and he had been on the water about 45 minutes. The sky was clear with a brisk wind and an estimated air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea was rough with broken surf due to the windy conditions. Water visibility was 1 – 2 feet with an estimated temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Maimes reported; “I was paddling back out from catching a wave and caught a glimpse of what looked like a dorsal fin heading south of my position perpendicular to shore. It was such a short glimpse, that I thought it may have even been a sail way off in the distance. By the time I was able to paddle over the next wave and look back out what I saw was gone. After a few more minutes I began to paddle out a little further to get in position for the next set. This time when I was paddling, I saw the same glimpse, but much clearer and for a longer period of time. I saw what I estimated to be a 2 – 2.5 foot tall dorsal fin, about 2 feet wide at the base, cruising through the water this time with more of an angle towards shore, though not straight in. The dorsal fin was dark grey, almost black, with an abrupt, sharp tip at the apex of the fin. As I watched it from about 50 – 60 yards away, I saw it disappear beneath the water. I immediately turned back to my friend to tell him that I saw a very weird fin moving in a way that I had never seen before. I have seen many dolphins in the water both close up and at a distance, but have never seen a fin this large, or move in this way before. He said that he had seen it too, but only gotten a short glimpse of it and couldn't say for sure what it was. We waited in the water scanning the area for a few minutes before deciding to paddle back in. We stayed to watch the water for about 10 more minutes but never saw the fin again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carlsbad On February 9, 2012 Brent Chastain and two unidentified companions were surfing at Ponto Beach, Carlsbad. It was 2:30 PM and they had been on the water about 90 minutes. According to Surfline.com air and water temperatures were recorded at 64 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was clear and the ocean choppy with some whitecaps outside the breaks. The water was about 20 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with very limited visibility of less than 1 foot. Dolphins were observed 200 – 300 yards from shore in an area where sea birds were actively diving. Chastain reported; “While watching the dolphins and birds diving, a large fish jumped out of the water in the area. I was on the outside of the surf while watching the birds. Then I saw a dorsal fin, about 2 feet high, rise up from below the surface and travel directly towards me. It was about 100 feet from my location and traveled horizontally across the surface for 5 – 10 seconds before submerging. It was grey in color with a pointed tip. I immediately caught a wave and headed to shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
South Bay On January 31, 2012 Eric Billingsley was surfing El Porto in South Bay, Los Angeles. It was 11:30 AM and he had been on the water about 45 minutes. It was sunny and warm with a slight breeze and an estimated water temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The surf was 2 – 3 feet with a slight texture and an estimated water temperature of 56 – 58 degrees Fahrenheit. A group of maybe 3 – 4 dolphins were 200 – 300 yards to the north and closer to shore. Billingsley reported; “I was sitting on my board waiting for the next set. The location was in front of the refinery on the north end of the parking lot. I looked south and saw a dark charcoal colored, approximately 14 inch tall, sharp dorsal fin 15 – 20 feet away and headed directly towards me. I have seen a lot of dolphins when surfing, but the fin and the creature's movements appeared much different. The fin moved in a straight trajectory across the surface of the water for 7 – 10 feet then submerged. At first I started to paddle away, but then stopped paddling and put my hands and legs on the board. I did not see the fin again and stayed in the water for another hour. It should be noted that a few minutes after seeing the fin, I observed a solo dolphin in the same area.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Imperial Beach On January 24, 2012 Jeff Wallis, a professional surf photographer, was at Imperial Beach just North of Beach Avenue. It was 9:00 AM and he was observing numerous Dolphins (Delphinidae) and Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus) near the surfline. Wallis reported; “Just prior to observing the shark fin surface the Dolphins swam off very quickly. The shark fin was on the surface, 15 – 20 yards beyond the surfline, for approximately 15 – 20 seconds and sped off very quickly. The shark resurfaced in the same area about 15 – 20 minutes later for a brief moment then was gone. From my vantage point I was about 200 yards from the shark. The fin was dark in color and 1.5 – 2 feet in height and the shark appeared to be 16 – 18 feet in length.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Cardiff On January 19, 2012 Tom Kaestner reported the following; “I was shooting my son surfing Cardiff Reef and the sunset Thursday evening at about 5:00 PM when I noticed something going on in the kelp beds. The shark was probably 200 – 250 yards from shore. It was plainly visible from shore, so it appeared to be massive. I'd guess close to 20 feet in length. There were whales farther out that originally caught my eye and that caused me to train my camera seaward and scan the area with my Canon zoom lens set at 400 mm. Then I saw something very big and strange. I then fired off several photographs. The birds were working in the area.” Pleases report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla January 18, 2012 – Open to the Public – 7:00 PM Surfrider Meeting will be held on the upper level (2nd level) of the University Town Center Mall, 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037. It is by Nordstrom. The following will be discussed;
A. Ralph S. Collier of the Shark Research Committee will discuss his ongoing research and collaborations.
B. Discuss ways to enhance genetic and microbiology assessments of sharks.
C. Consider ways to increase access to sharks that have been captured or have washed ashore – for tissue samples. In other words, can we better coordinate the flow of information, so these animals aren't just disposed of before tissue samples can be taken and stored.
D. What are the gaps in communication flow between the San Diego region and the rest of the state regarding this information?
Chatsworth, CA January 16, 2012 Shark Research Committee Press Release:
Pacific Coast Shark Attacks During 2011
There were 8 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2011, which includes 1 special case. There were 5 attacks, including the special case, recorded from California and 3 from Oregon. The attacks were distributed in the following months; June (2), September (1), October (3), November (1), and December (1). If the Northern Santa Barbara County line is used as the division between Southern and Central California, 2 of the reported attacks occurred in Southern California, including the special case, with the remaining 3 North of the division line. In regards to the Oregon shark attacks, 2 occurred at Seaside and 1 near Newport. Activities of the victims were; 6 Surfing, 1 Kayaking, and 1 Diving (special case). The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified or highly suspect in 7 of the attacks, with a Broadnose Sevengill Shark, Notorynchus cepedianus, implicated in the special case.
The publication “Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century” authenticated 108 unprovoked shark attacks from the Pacific Coast between 1900 and 1999. The Great White Shark was implicated in 94 (87%) of the 108 confirmed attacks with an annual average of slightly more than one shark attack per year. The 8 cases reported for 2011 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occurring along the Pacific Coast during the 21 st Century to 64. This is ‘more than five times' the Twentieth Century annual average of slightly more than 1 shark attack per year. The Great White Shark was implicated in 55 (86%) of the 64 attacks recorded during the 21 st Century. From 2000 to the present, 32 (50%) of the 64 confirmed shark attacks occurred during the three month period of August (10), September (9), and October (13). There have been 172 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America from 1900 to 2011. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 149 (87%) of the 172 cases. There were 8 fatal shark attacks confirmed from 1900 to 1999 with 4 fatal attacks reported from 2000 to 2011. The 12 fatal attacks represent 7% of the 172 total cases.
Victim activity for the 64 shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast since 2000 are distributed in the following ocean user groups; surfers 45 (70%) of the documented attacks, with 5 swimmers (8%), 5 kayakers (8%), 4 divers (6%), 3 paddle boarders (5%), and 1 boogie boarder (2%). The number of adult, sub-adult, and juvenile Great White Sharks observed in Southern California during 2011 was less than that reported in 2010. There were anomalous oceanographic conditions during 2011, which might have been contributory to this absence. The number of shark-bitten stranded marine mammals reported, specifically their location and time of year, would seem to support this reduced number of shark observations. The Shark Research Committee will continue to closely monitor these activities.
Additional information regarding the Shark Research Committee's conservation, education, and research programs is available at : www.sharkresearchcommittee.com
Lincoln City, OR On January 13, 2012 Steve Harnack was surfing at Nelscott Reef near Lincoln City, Oregon. The reef is approximately 0.5 miles offshore and creates a reef break with waves frequently 20 feet high. It was 10:00 AM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with an air temperature in the mid-40s Fahrenheit. Water temperature was approximately 48 degrees Fahrenheit with 15 – 20 feet of water visibility and a depth of 40 – 50 feet. There were two jet skis in the area assisting about 8 other surfers. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Harnack reported; “I had traveled beyond the reef about 200 yards by duck-diving through several waves about 20 feet high. I noticed my board dragging as I moved through the water. I had a jet-ski tow me back to the beach where I noticed a section on the bottom of my board had been struck by a shark. A portion of the fiber-glass had been removed and tooth impressions were also present.” Additional information, including photographs of the board's damage, will be posted when available in a few days. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Palos Verdes On January 2, 2012 Ciara Covey reported the following; “I was off the Palos Verdes Peninsula at 11:50 AM. The fog was heavy during the boat trip from King Harbor to Flat Rock. The fog lifted after anchoring and it became sunny and clear with the air temperature approaching 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Winds were calm. It was low tide with glassy water and a gently rolling 1 – 2 foot swell. The two divers I was with reported 15 feet of water visibility with a temperature of 57 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a large number of baitfish in the area. I was in a small boat on the outside of the kelp bed, in approximately 25 – 30 feet of water, about 200 – 250 yards off shore on the NNW side of Flat Rock Pinnacles near Bluff Cove. An undetermined number of surfers were in the lineup inside Bluff Cove, in addition to a couple kayakers and several paddle boarders passing by on the outside of the kelp. We spotted two dolphins inside the kelp near the shallows. They were swimming very close to each other, and one appeared smaller. We thought it was very unusual to see dolphins deep within the kelp bed. An undetermined number of seals were resting on Flatrock with a few in the water. Both spearfishermen entered the water at 11:15 AM. I glanced back up off the stern of the boat and approximately 40 yards away was a large, distinctly triangular, grey dorsal fin cutting through the water. The ragged back of the dorsal fin had a notch just below the midpoint of that edge. The dorsal fin appeared to be much larger than a person's head sticking up out of the water at the same distance. There was no tail fin tip protruding from the water. The shark was moving at a very good pace. There was a good sized bow wake on the dorsal fin. After several seconds of observation, the dorsal fin gradually submerged and disappeared. It was a silent and surreal moment. The shark had traveled straight into the kelp bed, moving perpendicular to the shore and in the direction of the spearfishermen. The shark was not spotted again. When the divers surfaced I called to them and informed them of the sighting. They headed toward the beach. I informed several surfers of the sighting and they returned to shore. There was an unconfirmed report of a dead seal on shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.