‘Holy Grail’ Shark Photos: Great White Attacks Recorded Off Cape Cod

Researchers with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy managed to observe several instances of predation off the coast of Cape Cod this week, a year after capturing photos of just such an event that were described as the “holy grail” of shark attack images.

The incidents took place off the coast of Monomoy, according to a post on the conservancy’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and were observed on July 6. The research team, which is engaged in the second year of a population study documenting white sharks off Cape Cod, watched as two separate sharks attacked and devoured seals, which represent the predators’ reason for flocking to the region. The incidents were photographed by the crew, as well as the conservancy’s spotter pilot, Wayne Davis.

The two white shark attacks were observed less than three hours apart. By contrast, researchers were able to view only two such incidents during the entirety of the 2014 tagging season.

“The research team witnessed two predations yesterday off Monomoy approximately 2.5 hours apart, 1/2 mile – 1 mile offshore. The sharks were around 9-10 feet in length. Each made an initial strike and then waited. The first shark left the seal before it died and the second shark consumed the seal after it was clear it was no longer moving. The white shark tagged later in the day was a different shark.”

Late last year, Davis captured another stunning photograph of a white shark feeding upon a seal, also off Monomoy. As the Inquisitr previously reported, some observers described such images of an attack as the “holy grail” of shark photos.

The attacks were hardly the only eventful aspects of the day, however. The crew also managed to tag the first white shark of the 2015 season, a 13-foot-long specimen named Avery. The shark was spotted in water just seven feet deep according to WCVB, roughly a half mile off the Chatham shoreline, and she is hardly a new visitor to the area. Last year, Avery was the first white shark documented in Cape Cod during the summer, as NECN reports. Part of the research team’s work is geared toward determining how many of the sharks are repeat visitors.

Last year, 68 individual sharks were documented by researchers in the region before winter set in. The team will continue their work through the summer, in an effort to determine how many of the great whites call Cape Cod their summer home, and whether the seasonal shark population is growing.

[Image: Atlantic White Shark Conservancy/ Wayne Davis via Twitter]