Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!!!! and Shark soup...

My favorite holiday

As I was trolling around the internet I stumbled on an article about a group of seal watchers witnessing a great white attacking a seal off of Monomoy Island, off the elbow of the Cape.

Last summer, I was surfing at Marconi beach with two other kids and one of them says: "i think i just saw a dolphin". I'm like "what??? I've never seen a dolphin out here". I asked him to point at where it was, and as soon as he pointed, a huge 2-3 foot dorsal fin popped out of the water and bobbed up and down with the surf. I thought I was tripping, but it was real. I told them I'd rather try to identify the fish from shore and rode the next wave in. Turns out, it was probably an ocean sunfish which can grow to well over 1000 pounds and have giant dorsal fins that protrude through surface while feeding.

Surfers are weary of sharks, obviously. Anybody that goes in the ocean and flails their arms and dangles their legs has to be a bit intrepid. I guarantee you, every surfer that's worth their weight has either been scared out of the water by shadows or had an overwhelming fear of sharks at one point or another. I remember talking to a close family friend whose an avid fisherman and sea captain and he said to me: "if you'd seen the things I've seen, you'd never step foot in the water"

Over the past few years, there have been multiple confirmed sightings of great whites; prowling and feeding around the Cape. Mostly in and around Chatham and it's burgeoning seal population (see top pic.) As a a result, I have become more cognizant of the presence of sharks.

In Sept. 2004, an estimated 15 foot great white was spotted off of Chatham chomping some seals only 50 feet from the shore and a week later a surfer told me that his brother was surfing at the second-cut off Nauset beach and came within 50 ft of a great white.

Oddly enough, a 15 ft great white became lodged in a lagoon not far off Woods Hole just a few days later... I went down to see the shark first hand, but instead hopped the ferry to Martha's Vineyard, to visit a friend and surf the Indian summer swell that had popped up that weekend.

Little did I know, this weekend was the 30th anniversary of Jaws, and the whole island (where much of the movie was filmed) was awash in the festivities. I was making ill humored jokes in the water, about how ironic it would be if one of us got chomped during "Jaws weekend".


Casey said...

happy 4th mark...see you in a few weeks

Sharyn said...

Mark - thank you for the Mark Twain quote on Caleb's blog - I had never before heard it. Have you ever run into my second son, Kai, out in the surf? He is usually on the Fleet beaches, but on occasion is down at Marconi. Thanks for your postings..I appreciate that you follow along with us. Sharyn

markmcc said...

Glad you liked the Twain quote. Mark Twain has so many great quotes, I thought that one was fitting. My favorite is: "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.
Yea, I have surfed w/ Kai. He doesn't know me, but I give him a nod when I see him. I grew up in West Barnstable, which is a lot like Wellfleet, and I have always had a special place in my heart for the Fleet, since I was a kid. Reading your blog brings me back to square and I am happy that you pour your heart out and share your feelings. I know that writing, at least for me is a good outlet for speaking my mind and my ideas, keep up the good work.