Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cape Cod Shark Scare

This article really raises more questions than it answers:

CHATHAM — Swimming has been prohibited at all Chatham oceanside beaches for the remainder of Labor Day weekend because of several great white sharks spotted off Monomoy Island, Harbor Master Stuart Smith said yesterday.

Gregory Skomal, a senior biologist and shark expert with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, said he spotted four great white sharks off Chatham's coast yesterday. That prompted beach officials at North Beach, Lighthouse Beach, South Beach and Hardings Beach in Chatham and Nauset Beach in Orleans to raise the red "no swimming" signs, much to the disappointment of beachgoers trying to enjoy the last big weekend of summer...

Kevin Tomany was taking pictures of his 14-year-old son surfing at Nauset Beach in Orleans yesterday morning when his 300-millimeter lens focused on something else entirely. He said a sudden commotion in the water about 300 to 400 yards offshore turned out to be a shark. He was able to see, through his telephoto lens, half a shark protrude briefly from the water. It wasn't the back end, either. "I saw jaws," he said.

Tomany, an orthopedic surgeon with a summer home in East Harwich, showed the photo to the beach patrol officials on Nauset Beach. He said they downloaded the image to send it to Skomal for identification. "I don't think there is any reason to panic," Tomany said. "It was clearly far away from any swimmers."

At Lighthouse Beach in Chatham, the Sansonetti family caught some rays as the red "no swimming" sign flapped overhead. Susie Sansonetti, 64, said she arrived at the beach late in the morning and went for a swim before the beach was closed. She said the seals were unusually close to shore, then the beach patrol prohibited swimming around 1 p.m.
Her son, Patrick, 38, said he had just arrived at the beach when he saw officials huddled together. "I saw that they were going to raise the flag, so I jumped in for a quick swim," he said.

Richard Baumann, who has summered in Chatham at his family's home since 1977, said he knew about the presence of sharks. However, Baumann said he was unfazed by the threat of a great white attack.

As hundreds of people crowded the sand, Baumann went for a dip before realizing swimming had been prohibited. "I didn't understand why I was the only one swimming," Baumann said after beach officials demanded he exit the water. "I just wanted 10 more minutes because this is the warmest the water has been all summer, and I figured I was safe because I've been swimming in this water my whole life."

The last documented human death in a Massachusetts shark attack was in 1936, according to a spokesman from the New England Aquarium.

But Ron Chorzewski, 41, of Georgetown, inadvertently raised some eyebrows on the beach yesterday because of his shirt, which read Shark Bite, Cape Cod. "A couple at a yard sale asked me if I wore it on purpose," Chorzewski said. "But I just didn't realize it."

Local and state officials plan to meet Tuesday to determine whether the beaches are safe to reopen, Smith said.

Comments & Questions:

1) When Kevin Tomany said, "I saw jaws," did he actually mean, "I saw Jaws"?

2) How dumb is Patrick Sansonetti? Is he dumber than Richard Baumann? Or are they equally stupid?

3) Getting bitten by a shark after Labor Day is déclassé, like wearing white shoes...it's just not done. Discuss. (Paraphrased comment by Guy.)

Shark article by Aaron Gouveia, capecodonline.com, September 6 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment