November 11, 2009

16' Great White Spotted Off of Wrightsville Beach

The Wilmington Star reports that a local fisherman had a close encounter with a Great White Shark about a mile of the the Oceanic Pier. Per the Star News article:
Steve Boehling said he was in awe when he came across the largest ocean creature he had ever seen while fishing about a mile off the coast of Wrightsville Beach. Apparently that large creature lurking off the coast of New Hanover County was a great white shark.

“First I saw a fin, and the first thing I thought was it was another dolphin,” he said. But then he and his fishing partner Mike Ross pulled their boat alongside the object and noticed it was just a foot or two shorter than their 18-foot boat. He said the shark had no markings and had a white underbelly and very large teeth...

Mr. Boehling offered this additional report on
"Sunday afternoon I was trolling through a school of false albacore's around 1 mile off Crystal Pier in about 30' of water when my friend saw a fin and said to go and take a look. As we got closer the shark crossed my bow about 10 feet away. If anyone that was in the water on Sunday can testify, the water was crystal clear. As we passed the shark my friend and I started freaking about the size of this shark (16 to 18 feet). I turned the boat and pulled along side this monster and we both said at the same time that the shark was a Great White. This thing was HUGE! My CC is 18' and this shark was about the same size and had a width of around 6'.

This shark didn't move when we pulled alongside, he just kept going on his course behind the school of fish. We were no more then 4 feet away from this shark for about 100+ yards until he decided to slowly dive under the boat and just disappear. We got the most amazing view of this shark due to how clear the water was. I have 2 pics from my cell phone, 1 of his fin when we first saw him and the next when he started to go under.

here to read the complete Star News article and see a clearer, full size photo.
here to read Mr. Boehling's post on WB Live Surf.

As cool and interesting it is to hear about this encounter, one should know that Great Whites are found up and down the entire eastern seaboard. They favor water temps from the mid 50's to mid 70's so it is safe to assume that they are not nearly as prevalent during our summer (swimming months) as our water temps reach into the mid 80's. And one more tidbit, there does not appear to have ever been a Great White shark attack off the NC coast. So, take a deep breath, relax and appreciate these apex predators without worrying about being on their menu.

Here are two excellent videos of Great Whites from the Outer Banks.

And finally, I have to leave you with this. In Australia, swimmers and surfers have to deal with the fact that 10' Great Whites are often considered snacks for the "larger" Great Whites that favor those waters.

This stunning picture shows a 10ft Great White thrashing about with two massive chunks missing on either side of its body, off the Queensland coast. Experts said its rival may be 20ft (about six metres) long, judging by the size of the huge bites.

Sky News article about the Queensland shark

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