Watch Out for Sharks

It's been a busy shark season along the coast.

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    The great white shark is one of the oceans greatest predators and they are making themselves known this year on the California coast.

    As summer turns to fall, you might want to keep an eye on the water. With the changing weather comes a toothy guest in the form of a great white shark.

    While some ocean species are in decline, great white populations appear to be on the rise. "There have certainly been more sightings," one expert told the Chronicle. Sharks are attracted to our region at this time of year due to the abundance of tasty seals and sea lions.

    Face-to-Face With a Great White

    [BAY] Kayaker Comes Face-to-Face With Great White Off Bay Area Coast
    A kayaker off the San Mateo coast was just inches from a fatal chomp.

    A couple of weeks ago at Pacifica's Linda Mar Beach several people reported seeing a huge great white attacking a sea lion.  It was reported to be between 18-25 foot long, which is getting into "Jaws" territory.

    That was just a sighting, but there was two other attacks in August, so it's normal that seafarers are feeling a little jittery.

    Great White Spotted in Pacifica

    [BAY] Great White Spotted in Pacifica
    Some surfers are scared by a huge shark sighting.

    Attacks have become more frequent in recent decades as sports like kayaking and surfing have grown in popularity. They've been sighted in the bay, though all of the attacks on humans have occurred outside the Golden Gate.

    Should you find yourself face-to-snout with a great white, there's not much you can do to scare them off, other than hope that they don't like how the first bite tastes. Experts say sharks bite into wetsuits thinking it's a seal. When they find the taste of rubber, they usually move on to something tastier.  The trouble is one bite is sometimes enough to kill a person.

    The best defense is to avoid shark-infested areas, which typically span the distance from the Farallon Islands to Monterey Bay. Of course, thrill-seekers may want to look into a Farallon Shark Adventure, which allows well-heeled tourists to descend into a shark cage.

    But not all sharks want to take a bite out of us. Scuba divers can spend time with the seven gills and leopard sharks at the Aquarium of the Bay. The vast majority of shark species prefer to leave humans alone -- now, if only humans would return the favor.