Great white shark swims dangerously close to shore in Northern California: VIDEO

ByLauren Martinez KGO logo
Monday, October 9, 2023
VIDEO: Great white shark swims near Santa Cruz Co. shore
A great white shark was caught on video swimming dangerously close to the shore in Aptos, California.

APTOS, Calif. -- A great white shark was spotted swimming dangerously close to the shore in Northern California.

The shark was captured on drone video swimming feet away from Hidden Beach in Aptos.

Eric Mailander captured the impressive video on Thursday afternoon from his boat.

"A lot of people come up to me - oh wow how close do sharks come to shore? And that video kind of speaks for itself it does speak volumes," Mailander said.

Mailander said a dead gray whale calf was reported on Monday off of Sea Cliff and moved three quarters of a mile south off Hidden Beach.

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"You have to realize that whale is decomposing and it's sending a lot of scent in the water, a lot of oil. And the waves, tides, and currents are distributing that scent," Mailander said.

To Mailander, it didn't surprise him to find so many sharks in the surf.

David Ebert, the program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center off Moss Landing, said it's far more common for them to be right under the surf.

For the past eight years, Ebert said there's been a lot of young white sharks around the Monterey area in the summer and fall.

"And I'll go up in specialized helicopters out of Watsonville to look at them and I'll count 40 sharks just around the cement boat. And they're like right in the back of the surf, just kind of hanging out during the day people are in the water splashing around you see kids, parents are sitting on the beach have no idea there's 40 white sharks just behind them," Ebert said.

The recent sighting is unnerving for local residents.

Michael O'valle said he goes into the water almost every day.

"Going swimming is definitely not an option for me right now," O'valle said.

Shira Smith heard about the shark sighting through the neighborhood.

"I think it's fascinating just the whole cycle of life and nature taking care of itself but also scary," Smith said.

Ebert said on average, there's three to four attacks a year.

"I try to tell people the sharks are not out there looking for people, they're not hunting people," Ebert said.

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Ebert said white sharks are about 5-6 feet when they're born.

"Up to about 10 feet they mostly feed on fish and other sharks, but when they get to about 10 feet, 10-12 feet that's when they start to change over to marine mammals," Ebert said.

May through December is the time great white sharks will be swimming off our coastline.

Eric Mailander works for the fire service, but the ocean is a place he decompresses. And he's been longtime shark advocate.

"Just trying to set the record straight, show people they're wild animals, they're beautiful and we're very lucky to have them in our own backyard," Mailander said.

Ebert grew up in the Monterey area and has studied sharks for about 40 years.

"Most people grow up in this area and don't see a white shark their entire life, but if you're in a boat or somewhere safe and you see one - you know, enjoy the moment. If you're in the water, just as calmly as you can make your way out of the water," Ebert said.