A Massachusetts man and his 8-year-old son recently experienced an unusual close encounter with a great white shark, watching as the nearly 20-foot-long predator circled their boat off the shores of Provincetown.
The incident took place near Race Point Beach on August 28, as Yahoo 7 reports. Angler Jim Gibbons and his son, Jack, were fishing around 7:30 p.m. when they noticed an unusual, if not entirely unexpected, visitor approaching their vessel — a great white shark. Gibbons filmed the animal with his cell phone as it circled the boat, examining the interlopers for nearly 15 minutes.
According to Jack, it was easy to see the animal’s distinctive coloring as it neared the boat.
“When I saw it coming towards me, its eyes were just pointed to the side so you couldn’t see any of its eyes. But you could see its white and just the nose was coming right at you.”
— Boston.com (@BostonDotCom) August 30, 2016
Based on their observations of the white shark, both Gibbons and his son estimated the predator to be nearly 20-feet-long, making it a notably large adult specimen. Gibbons told his son that the shark was “lurking” around the boat, and that the animal appeared to be “sizing” the pair “up for dinner.” Despite Jim’s admitted nervousness at the animal’s proximity, Jack was understandably excited by the sighting, and in video footage of the event he can be seen closely watching the shark from the edge of the boat’s hull.
— Science Channel (@ScienceChannel) August 27, 2016
Great white sharks are hardly new visitors to the cape, and in recent years the itinerant population that travels there each summer has only grown. The non-profit Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which is currently in the midst of the third year of a population study aimed at the white sharks, has recorded a steady increase in their numbers over the last few summers. Last year, the group managed to identify more than 140 different individual white sharks that were frequenting the beaches of Cape Cod, drawn there by a resurgent seal population. Of that number, a notable percentage were repeat visitors to the region, while others had never before been cataloged by researchers.
— Cape Cod Times (@capecodtimes) August 31, 2016
The efforts of the conservancy, in partnership with several local businesses, have given beachgoers a unique way to avoid the white sharks, in the form of a smartphone app named Sharktivity. Released earlier this summer, Sharktivity allows both locals and visitors near-real-time access to the latest white shark sightings reported to the conservancy. It also allows swimmers to upload their own observations, which are then examined by experts for veracity before being added to the public database.
Sharktivity has already been credited with assisting at least one family during their close call with a white shark. As the Inquisitr reported earlier this summer, a family swimming at a secluded beach on Cape Cod was notified of a nearby white shark’s presence by the app, which had collected a related sighting in the area just 20 minutes before. No sooner had the group exited the water than an adult white shark swam by their boat, quickly followed by the conservancy’s research vessel and spotter plane.
— George T. Probst (@GeorgeProbst) September 2, 2016
While dramatic, Gibbons’ sighting wasn’t the only one reported recently near Race Point Beach. As Wicked Local notes, swimmers were cleared from the water on Saturday when a white shark surfaced less than four feet from the shoreline. On Sunday, Ballston and Longnook beaches were closed when a shark was spotted in the area, just one week after beachgoers watched another great white shark devour a seal off the very same shore.