Shark Attack Victim Recovering

Experts say "red tide" has the ocean waters filled with sea creatures off the California coast.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Monday, Oct 31, 2011  |  Updated 10:08 AM PDT
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The attack happened at Marina State Beach. The man was transferred to San Jose for treatment. He is expected to recover.

NBC Bay Area

The attack happened at Marina State Beach. The man was transferred to San Jose for treatment. He is expected to recover.

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Beaches up and down Monterey County will be closed to surfers this week, after a Monterey man was attacked by a shark at Marina State Beach.

Warning signs tell surfers that they should stay out of the water through next weekend, according to the Monterey Herald. 

The surfer, 27-year-old Eric Tarantino, was surfing with friends early Saturday morning when he was bit in the arm and on the neck by a great white shark.

His friends could  him calling out while he paddled a bit ahead of his group. They said he was yelling for help and warning them that a shark was in their midst.

"I think he's gonna be OK. You know, when we got him to the beach he was coherent. And we'd stopped the bleeding immediately," his friend Skip Landos said.

Tarantino said the shark attacked him suddenly while he was paddling on his surfboard.

He was airlifted to San Jose. There surgeons operated on Tarantino for two hours to repair injuries to the muscles in his neck.

Dr. Michael Gynn said he was lucky, because the shark missed all major vessels. Gynn said Tarantino is expected to make a full recovery, adding he was awake and alert by Saturday night.

State beach officials said sharks move quickly, adding the shark that bit Tarantino could be in Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay by now.

Tarantino's damaged surfboard became an instant tourist attraction as it sat in the back of a state park ranger's patrol car in the beach parking lot.

Most agreed the shark was a great white and that it was a big one. The teeth marks left on the surf board were 19 inches across.

Experts said right now the waters of the Santa Cruz and Monterey coast is "oceanic Serengeti" because of something called "red tide." It's called that because an abundance of wildlife that turns the ocean red. 

"October is regarded as shark-tober and that persists right through January with the peak of the Elephant seal landings and then in February and March most of the sharks are moving off shore into the deep sea," 

 

The extra wildlife brings in all kinds of sea creatures. Just last week, a photographer caught two breaching humpback whales coming within a few feet of a kayaker.

 

For the kayaker, the moment was bliss.

 

For Tarantino, it nearly cost him his life. His doctors said if the shark had entered his neck even one millimeter close to his jugular, he would not have survived.

Two huge humpback whales unexpectedly jump out of the ocean just feet from a kayaker Alan Brady during a photo shoot off the coast of Santa Cruz, California.

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