The Orange County Sheriff's department recently encountered a school of great white sharks off Huntington Beach and managed to film several of the predators, including a juvenile that approached their camera and appeared to stare straight into the lens.
Harbor patrol officers first spotted one of the sharks offshore on Monday, swimming just beneath the surface of the ocean, according to CBS Los Angeles. Only two stand up paddlers were in the water at the time the sharks were sighted, and lifeguards warned them away after they were contacted by deputies. A fireboat was then dispatched to locate and observe the great whites, along with an OCSD helicopter.
— O.C. Register (@ocregister) May 14, 2015
Sargent John Hollenbeck brought along a GoPro camera, which deputy Steve Pace attached to a seven-foot-long boat hook, dipping it in the murky waters, according to the Orange County Register. Though underwater visibility was poor, they managed to capture video of at least one of the juvenile white sharks and photograph another as it approached the camera, staring straight into the lens. Though it was difficult at the time to determine just how many sharks were in the water, the helicopter crew was able to count at least six great whites, all measuring between five and six feet in length.
The great white: the most iconic, and misunderstood, of all sharks http://t.co/Jqx0Xp0P7X #Shark pic.twitter.com/bthpKuCj1h
— BBC Earth (@BBCEarth) May 8, 2015
Even though the predators are rarely interested in humans, Hollenbeck allowed that he wouldn't have entered the ocean.
"I've been in and around the ocean all my life. I don't think I would have cared to go in there swimming," he noted. "Sharks rarely attack people, they have zero interest in us as food, we don't taste good to them. Almost always a case of mistaken identity."
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) May 10, 2015
Though beachgoers may be wary of the sharks, Hollenbeck pointed out that the great whites would move to deeper waters as they mature. At five to six feet in length, the sharks are juveniles and pose little threat to swimmers.
"We don't want people to panic and think great whites are suddenly out here. It's a common occurrence," he observed.
Last month, authorities issued a warning after two white sharks were spotted off nearby Seal Beach, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Similarly sized, the sharks were also juvenile great whites, which have been spotted numerous times along the California coastline this year, moving closer to shore than usual. Researchers attribute the sharks' behavior to warmer pockets of water that have drawn the great whites into shallow water.
[Image: OCSD via the Orange County Register]