Just a day after a great white shark was spotted “stalking” a man in a kayak off the shore of Nauset Beach in Cape Cod, Mass., authorities have deemed that it’s safe for swimmers to get back in the water.
(VIDEO: Shark Bites Another Shark)
Walter Szulc Jr. was kayaking for the first time on July 7 when hundreds of people spotted something he couldn’t see for himself: the dorsal fin of a great white shark, cutting through the surface of the water, just a few feet behind him. As Szulc Jr. continued on, oblivious of the Jaws-esque scene unfolding at his back, swimmers raced for the shore. Once they’d reached safety, their attention turned to the kayaker. “There were hundreds of people on the beach, and they were all at the edge, yelling paddle paddle, paddle!” onlooker Dave Alexander told news channel WHDH.
When Szulc Jr. at last heard the warning calls from the spectators on the beach, he turned to see what the fuss was about. “So I looked behind me, and that’s when I saw the shark; it was pretty much right there,” he told WHDN. He then speedily made his way to shore and out of danger. No one was harmed but beach officials urged around 3,000 vacationers to stay out of the water. But despite the warning, several swimmers were reportedly back in the water later that evening; the beach was back in business the following day.
There have been a number of great white shark sightings in recent weeks around Cape Cod, with another town also issuing swimming warnings after sharks were spotted at the end of June and beginning of July. The town of Chatham, just south of Nauset Beach, has banned people from swimming within 300 feet of seals, as the sleek swimmers are among the great whites’ favorite prey.
Somewhat surprisingly, that the Cape Cod shark sightings seem to have actually attracted people to the beach. “It’s a novelty of sorts,” Joe Fitzback, a Chatham area sea captain, told MSNBC. “When there are sightings, it gets kind of hectic around here. Everyone wants to come down to see the sharks.”
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