(FOX 11) - It's shark-sighting season in Southern California. So expect to see a lot of great whites. But one woman had a close encounter of the beautiful but scary kind.
A shark finning thru the waters off Oceanside is making the rounds on social media thanks to Captain Shane Hansen who works on boats for OceansideWhaleWatching.com.
Hansen believes a 10-12 foot great white aimed twice at his vessel last Friday. He says he recognized the dorsal fin on both had the same notch.
Dr. Chris Lowe with the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab says that could be shark aggression. He says when they want to protect something they may charge toward a perceived threat and then veer off.
To Julie Wolfe, last Monday a "shark was after me!"
Canoeing is a big part of Wolfe’s life. The LA City Firefighter has been canoeing for 25 years. Last Monday she was canoeing off Oceanside.She says, “I was about two miles out into the ocean when I felt a real hard bump under my canoe and knew instantly - right away - what it was.” She paddled in her Polynesian-style outrigger and felt a tug on the back of her paddle, “... and that’s when I realized the shark was chasing me.
And, then I just screamed like a little girl and then, like I said it was a terrifying two miles. The bottom of her boat had what looks like large bites. She says a researcher told her it likely came from a great white that was 10 to 12 feet long.
We found little girls and boys oohing and awing over sharks at the Aquarium of the Pacific. At their Shark Lagoon their goal is to educate kids on sharks. They prefer to talk about their virtues feeling they’ve been vilified and aren’t guilty of the things movies have shown.
Erin McCombs, a shark educator at the Aquarium of the Pacific, says “They’re definitely unfairly vilified. They’re important animals in their habitat. They’re an apex predator and are able to keep the entire food chain below them in balance. I think that when we are dealing with sharks we always want to keep our distance. Remember the ocean is a wild place and we want to observe nature from a distance.”
Meanwhile, Julie Wolfe says a researcher who has studied her shark-bitten boat told her, "The shark was not trying to eat me. I was either in its feeding ground or in its territory and it wanted me out or the shark could have possibly been pregnant and was trying to get the area safe.”
Sharks live in the waters off Southern California. So, the experts say make sure you’re swimming near a lifeguard, with a buddy and practicing ocean safety.
Julie says, "I’m not an expert on sharks. I’m an expert on running away from sharks.”