Updated: Aug 25, 2020
The shot of lifetime off the shores of Cape Cod.
There is something to be said about being in the right place at the right time. Never was this more true, then when me and my Fiancée Chrissy were taking a short trip to Cape Cod on Labor Day weekend. We we're able to witness and capture a Great White shark breach from the shore of Cape Cod. A one in million opportunity.
I heard a panicked woman screaming... Get out of the water!
Before we arrived in Cape Cod, like most trips we go on I like to do some research about the place we're going. Places to fish, things to do, and get the layout of the area. While searching Cape Cod, the same thing kept popping up in my search. Any variation of the words shark and Cape Cod. Instantly that caught my attention and my excitement grew immensely about our upcoming trip. However, I didn't have any expectations to see one, but the idea of it was exciting. Especially being a wildlife filmmaker and photographer.
Head of the Meadow beach is a beautiful beach located on outer Cape Cod. As soon as we arrived, the first sign you see is a huge warning sign with a picture of a great white shark. Right beyond that there is another shark warning sign and slightly past that is medical shark kit that anyone can use in case of a shark attack. You can't help but think about sharks when you are here and it constantly enters your mind.
I think a lot of these measures are based on an incident that happened just down the shore from here almost a year earlier, when a 26 year old man was attacked by a Great White while boogie boarding and later died from his wounds. There has clearly been a huge increase in the Great White population in Cape Cod.
The reason for the large numbers of sharks in Cape Cod? Seals! Gray and Harbor seals were nearly hunted to extinction and hard to come by in Cape Cod. However, with new Regulations put into place in 1972, the Cape Cod Seal population has exploded. Making for a Shark Buffet!
We were able to see hundreds of them together at one time. They would sleep and rest during low tide on sand bars, but when high tide came they were forced to get into the water. This is where they lost their protection and entered the shark territory.
We would see these seals all day longs, they would cruise right by and curiously stare at you. Some even followed us as we walked down the shore!
Every once in a while, we would look out into the ocean and see a dark shadow figure cruising in the waves. Many times while we were in the water! I was fly fishing waist deep, when I saw a couple of these shadows cruise very closely to me in the water. They turned out to be seals swimming down the shore. I was also told if you see a seal, you might as well stop fishing because they scare all the fish away.
As the day went on, Chrissy was laying down on the beach and I decided to take a walk down the beach. While I was walking. I heard a panicked women screaming at the top of her lung "Get out of the water!" She was yelling to another woman who was the only person at the time swimming in the ocean. I quickly ran back to where Chrissy was and grabbed her and my camera and we went back to the spot were the woman was screaming.
When we got back to the spot, I asked the woman if she saw a shark and she said that a man said he saw a shark. I approached the man and he said he a saw shark fully breach the water with its whole body. He said he had been coming to Cape Cod for ten years and has never seen a shark. He believed it was at least 10-12 feet long. Chrissy and I setup shop and were on the search for the breaching shark. We didn't think we would have a chance to see the shark but we anxiously scanned the water.
As we were staring out in the ocean blue, Chrissy said she thinks she sees a fin. She point out the general vicinity and I see it too! I was able to snap a few frames of it. Now I have no idea if this is a shark fin or something else, but my excitement grew. Maybe we will see the shark!
When we see a beautiful sail boat coming in the distance and my Chrissy says “I think I see something by the boat”. I swing my camera around to the boat in the distance and as I’m acquiring focus of the area a great white shark jumps out of the water with the boat in the background. It was amazing and a once in a lifetime shot!
If you have any shark stories or comments, feel free to email me to tell me about them!