Lifeguards Urge Caution After Local Shark Sightings
2 Shark Sightings Reported In La Jolla Shores Sunday
Last Updated: 1007 days ago
In the last couple of weeks, surfers in San Diego County have been seeing a not-so-comforting sight in the water -- sharks.A kayaker spotted a shark Sunday morning in La Jolla Shores that he described as bigger than his kayak. Later that afternoon, three lifeguards confirmed another sighting, just 50 yards from shore near Tower 30.Lifeguards are not closing the beach, but they are telling everyone to be extra cautious.Last week, stand up paddle boarder Chuck Patterson captured video of what he said was a great white shark. Patterson got up close and personal with the shark, and the animal slapped its tail on his board before swimming away."I actually cancelled my camping reservation at San Onofre because they were swimming over there, but they're always out here," said surfer Tony Pitpit.Two years ago, a 66-year-old man died after being attacked by a shark during a triathlon-training swim in Solana Beach. Just last year, a shark bit an Encinitas woman in the leg at Terra Mar Beach in Carlsbad.Despite the past incidents and numerous recent sightings, it was not going to stop surfers who came out to enjoy the water Monday."It kind of scares me, but it's not going to stop me. I'll be out there," Pitpit said."It doesn't really bother me. The worse things are the stingrays, in my opinion, because I got stung the other day," said surfer Lindsay Cummings.Lifeguard Sgt. Rich Stropky advised those going out in the water not to swim alone, avoid areas with lots of seals and try not to surf during the early morning and evening hours -- which is when sharks feed.Andy Nosal, a researcher with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, said there is an average of four to six fatal shark attacks worldwide annually.Nosal reminds beachgoers that just because sharks are not clearly visible does not mean they are not there. He said people should not be panicked because of recent sightings.Lifeguards at La Jolla Shores are educating the public about the sightings in order for surfers and swimmers to make their own decisions on whether or not to enter the water.
Shark Sightings Bring Sense Of Excitement, Intrigue
For marine biologist Nick Wegner, the latest shark sightings off the La Jolla coast and a sighting in San Onofre are both exciting and intriguing."They grab the public's mind, but we don't really know a lot about them," said Wegner.Because little is known, Wegner said it's hard to know for sure why we're seeing more great white sharks. He said it's not unusual for them to swim close to shore, where they feed on fish, seals and sea lions."I think most of the time they swim by unnoticed," he said.Wegner believes the sightings are getting a lot of attention because they're rare and because there is not a large population of great white sharks. It's estimated a few hundred to a couple thousand live along the West Coast.Wegner hasn't noticed anything unusual lately about the food supply in the area, nor does he believe the cooler-than-normal ocean temperatures play a role because great white sharks thrive in tropical waters as well."Probably the biggest reason we're seeing more sharks is there are more people in the water and more cameras and that sort of thing out in the water," said Wegner.The shark sightings aren't enough to keep Matt Beres away from surfing. He was on his way to La Jolla Shores when he and his mom heard about the sightings on the car radio."I guess once I see one, I guess I'll be scared," said Beres.His mother said, "[It's] a little worrisome, but I don't know, there's always sharks out there."Leopard sharks, seen last week in La Jolla last week, tend to be more visible since they're more the norm around San Diego and there are more of them in the ocean, experts said.Just to be safe, experts encourage people not to swim alone, to avoid swimming where there are seals and to stay out of the water during the early morning and evening hours, when sharks tend to feed.