Residents in the Central California town of Aptos had quite the case of déjà vu earlier this week when roughly a dozen great white sharks were spotted off the coast in Monterey Bay.
Helicopter crews first made the discovery and what’s really interesting is that it’s in the same exact area as a similar gathering of great whites occurred last summer.
“They are in the exact same spot as last year, next to the Cement Ship,” marine biologist and local tour guide, Giancarlo Thomae, told GrindTV.
The sharks gathered in Monterey measure 7 to 10 feet, making them juveniles that typically eat rays and small fish – adult sharks (12 feet and over) diets typically consist of elephant seals and sea lions.
Regardless of their diet, knowing they’re out there right in the surf is nerve-wracking, but it’s just how it is.
“It’s where they live. I’m in their territory so I have got to respect them. They are just out there minding their own business too,” shark enthusiast Neal Pearlberg told KION.
This isn’t to say it doesn’t make him a little nervous when he gets too close, like when he got near on on his SUP paddle board.
“Until you see one, then you pucker up,” said Pearlberg.
Giancarlo Thomae had his own potentially terrifying experience while snorkeling near several sharks.
“I had two circle me, and an 8-footer swam directly under me,” Thomae said. “The water turned black in front of my face.”
These sharks usually feed further south, so it’s uncommon to see them here. However, scientists say warm waters caused by El Nino have expanded their usual habitat.
“Some are just beyond the surf break out there and there are people along the beach, splashing and enjoying a nice, sunny day and I’m sure they have no idea there’s great white sharks less than 100 feet away from them,” said Dr. David Ebert with Moss Landing Marine Labs.