I am checking out rumor of local GWS sighting


Sculpin Enterprises
Thanks for the link to the tracking data. I have also read that some shark researchers believe that the Great Whites that inhabit our northern waters here are of a different tribe than the ones swimming off Monterrey. (But I don't think that they really know enough about 'em to make that kind of statement).

As far as water temp, the buoy data indicate that the sea surface temp has risen from around 45 or 46 F (about 8 Celsius) 6 weeks ago to about 47 - 48 F (about 9 Celsius) recently. I have read that 10 Celsius, or 50 F is on the lower end of the range of the comfort zone for many cetaceans. Is it the same for Great White sharks, too? The current temps aren't that far below that comfort zone.
Hi Jim,
There is a huge bias towards great whites that range into Monterey. The leading scientists, like Dr. Barbara Block, are based at Hopkins Marine Lab. So, the track patterns that I showed you could be biased toward a subpopulation that has a California - Hawaii migration access. However, great whites are " regionally warm-blooded" sharks and may have trouble with our cold water. I saw a talk at a conference where scientists speculated that the seasonal findings of juvenile great whites might be linked to these smaller sharks being caught in cold, upwelling plumes. Larger sharks, with larger body mass (and metabolic heat generation), are less likely to be so limited. As others have commented, range distributions are not hard-fast and there are likely to be exceptions.

I have a pseudo great white shark story, As a gradual student at U.C.S.B., I was diving at 50' along a sand plain between two rocky reefs west of Santa Barbara on a day with 10' visibility. Suddenly a big eye appeared out of the murk passing in front of me. My first thought was "oh, %&&$*%), great white shark!! I'm a rock, I'm a rock, I'm a rock." About as soon as that thought went through my mind, I saw that it was a California gray whale. It just kept passing and passing and passing by. My last vision was of the huge flukes powering by me. I was spooked for the next two dives that day. With a wet suit (not touch), a hood, (no sound), a mask (no smell and a limited visible range), it was really brought home just how sensory-deprived I was a a diver. I spent much of the next two dives trying to look over my shoulder to see what was behind me.....

Cool encounter (and thank you for sharing).


Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
They never had any trouble with the cold waters of Drake's Bay or the Farallones, and it never bothered them anywhere north of Bolinas, either. So I don't think any "global warming" has anything to do with it. We had to watch for `em at Drake's all the time. Scary creatures!

Once, a bunch of us (we were all PADI divemasters, instructors, and master divers) decided to charter a boat out of Richmond to head out to the Farallones for abalone before it was a sanctuary. There were two girls who were always trying to break into our "rat pack": Pam Lightford, and another girl whose name I can't recall. They tagged along on the trip. We got out to the islands and formed three-man teams: two guys for the abs, and one for the shark billie. Pammie and her friend went off by themselves, and while screwing around in about 45 feet, got hassled by about a 10-footer. They told us they were both backed up against a big rock, and the shark was circling them. Pam took off her tank, which was steel, and as the fish came around the rock, she smacked it on the nose with said tank, right on the little ampoules of Lorenzini!! The shark used his "transporter" and was elsewhere, instantly. We all allowed that the girls could join the rat pack after that.

The nearest surf shop to Bolinas was also a dive shop; the Bamboo Reef, owned by Leroy French and Al Giddings. Giddings is one of the best underwater photographers in the world, and If I only knew then what I know now... Anyway, we used to hang out at the shop and got to know them both. Al was always trying to get us to come with him so he and French could get some underwater shops ala Bruce Browne, but we were always too busy chasing the girls and surfing to want to do that "lame" stuff. Anyway, one day they're out at Bodega Head, working on a new chest-mounted camera system, and French jumps off the back of the boat. Right onto the back of a great white. Took over a hundred stitches to sew him back up. I don't thing he ever went back to Bodega after that.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Great stories! Love to hear 'em.
Alex, I've always thought that you abalone divers down in the "Red Triangle" were nuts!:D
I have never encountered a shark in the water here in WA while surfing. (To put that in perspective, I've been surfing up here since May 1979, with an 8 year hiatus. so we'll call it 25 years of water time, average of maybe 80 go-outs per year. That's 2,000 sessions. At 2+ hours on the average per surf session, that's over 4,000 hours of water time with zero shark encounters).
I've had the JAWS theme playing in my head when surfing alone, though. I have friends who have told me about their close encounters while surfing in Oregon. There have been several sightings and a couple of "bumpings" out at Seaside Point.
I was acquainted with a GWS bite victim survivor, who was a good friend of one of my local surf buddies. Kenny Doudt was attacked while surfing next to Haystack Rock off Cannon Beach, back on Nov 1, 1979. It nearly killed him, but he survived. Over 500 stitches. He died a couple of years ago from some kind of heart failure while surfing one of his favorite Outer Island breaks on a good day.
A dude in the Coast Guard once told me that helicopter crews had spotted several GWS around the south jetty at the Columbia River over the years. I think he said the total count was 17 sightings there over the years. Another Coastie told me that they've spotted them in the waters near La Push. I haven't verified this yet. Its just what I was told.

I did see sharks of various species when I was living on Oahu. Either while surfing, scuba diving, or snorkeling. A couple of times we had 'em show up and start cruising near us when divers were near, spearing fish. We thought that the Gray Reef sharks that came around had been attracted by fish blood. They aren't as dangerous as some species, but you have to respect them, so we usually paddled in. Once, we were paddling in after such a sighting, and a fairly large Green Sea Turtle surfaced right in front of me! I had to do a double take!
Another time a good sized shark surfaced right in front of my surf buddy when we were just paddling out at a spot on the North Shore named "Leftovers." I saw it from where i was a good 30 yards behind Bob. He turns and catches the next incoming wave and goes by me yelling "Shark!. Head in!" I caught the next broken wave of soup and bellied in right behind him. Bob said he thought it was a Tiger shark. We left to check out Rocky Point and other spots before cruising back by Leftovers, where we saw about 5 guys out there surfing that had shown up right after we had left. A couple of years after that, a body boarder was attacked and killed by a Tiger Shark there.

Another time we were surfing smaller waves out at a break known as "Seconds" off of Portlock Road (near Koko Head) on Oahu's south shore, on our longboards in dirty water after a long period of Kona weather and rain. A good sized shark cruised by us about ten feet away, breaking the surface with its back. Its dorsal fin was over a foot high, and there was about 5 feet or so between it and the tail fin. It was a dusky tan color, so we thought it might have been a Tiger. Either that or a Hammerhead. We pulled out legs out of the water and balanced on our boards for a few moments before paddling in.


The wanted posters say Tim Hartman
Not so long ago a fisherman reported hooking a Great White shark near Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Yeah, that fisherman is a friend of mine who had also been the marine collector at Pt. Defiance Aquarium for many years before he retired so obviously he knows his fish. Even though Bob is known for his tall fishin' tales I'm sure he was telling the truth about this incident.

This sighting occurred in 2002. Here's a link to a KOMO article about it:

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
The only time I ever saw a shark when scuba diving was during the final dive to qualify for my NAUI Sport Diving classification. First we saw a school of good sized fish materialize, and then came the shark. It didn't come in close to inspect us, but left shortly after we spotted it. I wonder how my instructor set that one up!
I didn't get into SCUBA. I could always borrow the regulator, tanks, and weightbelt from my instructor/friend, as long as I bought air at his dive shop. I had a prescription faceplate on my mask, and some decent fins. He and his partner dissolved the shop on Oahu and his partner set up over on Kauai. I just snorkeled after that.
Gonna need a hell of a big fly for him:D One thing to remember the bering sea is about the farthest north turf for these guys so it is realistic your surfers saw one

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
Another time a good sized shark surfaced right in front of my surf buddy when we were just paddling out at a spot on the North Shore named "Leftovers." I saw it from where i was a good 30 yards behind Bob. He turns and catches the next incoming wave and goes by me yelling "Shark!. Head in!" I caught the next broken wave of soup and bellied in right behind him. Bob said he thought it was a Tiger shark. We left to check out Rocky Point and other spots before cruising back by Leftovers, where we saw about 5 guys out there surfing that had shown up right after we had left. A couple of years after that, a body boarder was attacked and killed by a Tiger Shark there."

Jim, we were diving in Hanauma Bay years ago, and came up over a tube only to run smack into a tiger of about 12 feet or so. I lost about half my air right then!! That same day, snorkeling out in water that's about 2-2.5 feet deep, I ran up on a stonefish hunkered down and doing his best imitation of a rock. They're not usually seen in that area, and with a ton of little kids around, most of whom were barefoot, I hustled in to grab the guard and told him what I'd found. He says "There's no stonefish around here, sir". So i grab the idiot, stuff his face underwater on top of the fish, and whisper "ok, just what the fuck's that thing then?" Guess I added to his storehouse of marine knowledge that day:D


Active Member
Great stories in this thread. Thanks for sharing.

Someone several years ago mentioned salmon sharks and brought this up on this board I believe (?). I had never heard of salmon sharks before, only the common named sharks and the puget sound dogfish. But this shark has a nickname of 'baby whites' due to similar appearance. Not known to attack humans, but with some of the larger ones getting to 10 feet I suppose its possible. I was wondering if any of you (surfers, kayakers, etc) had spotted one or many before? More prominent in northern ocean waters.


Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Cool shot of the yak angler and salmon shark. I read that there have been a couple of "minor" attacks on humans by those things.
I think those guys are putting too much faith in what they've read about salmon sharks not attacking people. It could just be a case of not enough opportunity for contact, until recently.

We get some nasty looking sharks out here on the coast that are mainly bottom feeders and scavengers. They don't hardly ever come up to the top, so no one ever see's 'em. The Broad Nosed Seven Gill can grow up to 9' or 10' and is powerfully built.

Brian White

Recovering Bugmeister
I grew up surfing - graduated from boogie board at age7 and have been surfing for the last 30+ years. I've surfed waves odd 5 of seven continents and lived in Hawaii, etc. In short - quite a but of time in water. I also started tank-diving at 13 and have freed dived/spear fished since high school. Though I have seen a fair number of sharks (inc GWS from a nice safe distance, tigers, etc) I have thankfully yet to have a really "bad" encounter.

Some years back I did hit a good size shark with my dive light while night diving for lobster. To this day I'm still not sure what it was....

I have a healthy respect/fear for sharks, but I haven't let it bother me too much. I usually play it safe and don't surf with a ham hock strapped to my waist :)
I spent my misbegotten youth in the water at Bolinas, CA for as long as possible on a 10' Sonny Vardeman board, and never saw a white there. Drake's, hell yes, but Bolinas/Stinson? no. Along comes the "marine mammal protection act" making it illegal for the salmon fishers to shoot sea lions, and voila, white sharks everywhere. Numerous sightings, and attacks are not infrequent there now. Good Lord, the stories I could tell about diving in the Farrallones off the coast there!

It's Illegal :) Ever been on a squid boat off channel islands? :) You get my drift

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
It's Illegal :) Ever been on a squid boat off channel islands? :) You get my drift
right on, Daryle! There's no salmon left off the Marin coast thanks to this stupid park anyway. It was a major contributor to the demise of any type of commercial enterprise around that area, and before we dumped our house in Bolinas, most of the East county'd become a bedroom community for S. F.

Chester Allen

Fishing addict and scribbler
OK, I'll add to this very interesting thread. When I lived in Olympia -- 14 years -- I surfed the Westport Jetty a lot, just about whenever there was a clean longboard swell. About four years ago, I was getting ready to paddle out along the rip next to the jetty when I spotted a small shark -- about 30 inches long -- beaching itself on the sand near the jetty. It looked like a miniature GWS. I waded over for a closer look and saw it was a small Salmon shark, which look a LOT like a Great White Shark. I felt sorry for the shark, so I used the tip of my longboard to steer it back out to sea. Then I went surfing -- and shaker coho were all over the lineup. Anyway, I called a WDFW marine biologist the next day, and she said lots of juvenile salmon sharks end up beaching themselves for some reason.
I've surfed and fly fished the Northwest since 1984, and I've never seen a Great White. I went surfing near Cannon Beach last week and spent a lot of time on the drive over thinking about sharks. I respect these animals, and I always get out of the water when I see seals or sea lions near the lineup. I know there are GWS off Northwest beaches, but I try to stay out of the water during the low light of dawn and dusk, and I don't paddle out when I see seals or sea lions. I also don't paddle out when I see a commerical boat at anchor, which happens a lot in some spots, such as Short Sands in Oregon.

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