Coast Guard sailors off the coast of Oregon were visited by what appeared to be a great white shark. During a transit on August 25 along the coast south of the Coos Bay Coast Guard Station, the shark, estimated to be 10 to 12 feet long, swam with its vessel, giving the crew a rare encounter with an oceanic predator at the top.
“It was the first time that any of our crew had witnessed something so spectacular in real life, and certainly something he will never forget,” the Coast Guard said on the station site. Facebook page.
The shark’s dorsal fin was visible above the surface most of the time. “Perhaps the crew and the shark were equally interested in each other,” the post continued. “We were fortunate enough to be able to spend about 10 minutes admiring the presence of this incredible creature about 2 miles off Bandon, OR.”
The crew could not make a firm decision on the species of the shark. It looks like a large white, but commenters on the Facebook post suggested it could be a salmon shark or a mako. And while it’s hard to be sure the shark was, as the Coast Guard says, a “friendly visitor,” experts say sharks are often curious about activity in the water.
A tall white man looked curious when he Atlantic White Shark Conservancy boat tracking off Cape Cod in August. And in May, people aboard a Sea Education Association ship sailing from Florida to Massachusetts captured video of a huge basking shark swimming under the boat.
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Great Whites are known to live along the eastern and western coasts of the United States, around the Pacific Rim, off southern Africa and in the Mediterranean Sea. They spend a lot of time in the surf area, where they find much of their prey, and where they sometimes bite people. Humans are not part of a white shark’s normal diet, and most attacks can be caused by confusion in rough water rather than aggression.
University of Florida International file on shark attacks reports seven shark attacks in Oregon, none of them fatal, since 2011. Two people have died in 29 shark attacks off California during the same period. By far the most active US state for shark attacks is Florida, with 242 attacks, more than half of the national total, none of them fatal.