Great Whites seem to be migrating south bound for Mexico in large numbers and have made their usual pit stop at Sunset Beach coinciding with the Grunion runs and migration of schools of larger fish.  Even though Sunset Beach is known as a “pupping ground” for Great White females, it’s highly unusual to actually see a large White.  It’s not known whether the shark below is a female.  Since this is a familiar area to them chances are it is a female.  Usually females chase off any perceived threat to their newborns before pupping.  Because as many as five other sharks have been seen in the area, I don’t think any births took place.

Despite all of this activity and the numerous opportunities for these sharks to attack scores of surfers at Sunset Beach and swimmers (including myself), there have been no reported attacks – ever!  Of course, this isn’t to say that it could never happen.  In the meantime, I swim close to shore.

lance_bel_air_bay_8-25-10_1.jpg

Photographed from a helicopter this Great White was estimated to be 18′ but it it is probably the same 16′ that was seen previously.

lance_bel_air_bay_8-25-10_2.jpg

Again at Sunset Beach a juvenile Great White, probably 8′, clearly not interested in the surfer.

lance_gladstones_8-24-10.jpg

Another juvenile. but slightly larger judging by the girth.

santa_monica_8_29_2010.jpg

This 6′ juvenile was spotted off Santa Monica near Venice.

Various sightings from a helicopter off Sunset Beach at Gladstones Restaurant.  Three Great Whites were spotted at 12′, 14′ and 16′ in length.

desiree-horton_sunset-beach_8-20-10.jpg

balboa_bay_club_8-11-10_3.jpg

balboa_bay_club_8-11-10_4.jpg

 061910-60.jpg

Happy Father’s Day to a Super Dad!

061910-manhattan.jpg

Swimming from Hermosa Beach Pier to Manhattan Beach Pier -  2 Miles

This Great White female shark was caught off of Will Rogers Beach in August.  She is on exhibit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and will eventually be returned to the wild. Apparently there were four others within 200 yards of the beach.

Great White Shark

There have been several sightings of a shark breaching at Sunset Beach just off the Bel Air Beach Club in Pacific Palisades.  But only until recently has there been any photographic evidence.  Photographer and Horizons West Surf Shop owner Randy Wright, who I met through my last shark encounter(Shark Sighting) caught this series of remarkable shots of a 8 – 10 foot Great White.

sp32-20091006-084259.jpg

In the same week this juvenile Thresher Shark washed ashore at the Bel Air Bay Club.

shark.png

And yes, I still swim everyday.

pali-post-header.gif

20090325_alden_152.jpg

While taking an ocean swim off Will Rogers State Beach, Alden Harris spotted a seven-foot great white shark.  Photo: Umami Photography

White Sharks Sighted off Will Rogers Beach

April 02, 2009

Sue Pascoe , Staff Writer

Pacific Palisades resident Stephen Spielberg made ‘Jaws’ in 1975, about a larger-than-life great white shark terrorizing a beach community. Possibly those images popped into Alden Harris’s head when he spotted a large dorsal fin while taking his daily three-mile ocean swim off Will Rogers State Beach on March 18.

‘It was parallel to me and about 15 yards away,’ said Harris, a Palisades resident. ‘I knew it wasn’t a dolphin; it was gliding.’

He immediately ran from the water and climbed atop the storm drain at the Bel-Air Bay Club, looked out at the ocean, and saw a second shark that he estimated to be seven feet in length. He knew two other people were swimming that way, so he ran farther down the beach, got back into the water, and swam out to warn them.

Later, the three swimmers heard about another sighting that same day, recorded on sunsetsurf.com, a Web site devoted to tracking the waves for surfers at local beaches. ‘I was at Sunset on a standup board,’ Christopher Harford wrote on the Web site. ‘I saw a large shark swim under me and observed it for about a minute.’

The three swimmers reported the sharks to lifeguards, then contacted Ralph Collier, president of the Shark Research Committee and author of ‘Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century.’

Two days later, Harris, co-owner of PaliTutor.com with his wife, Amy Barranco, was debating whether to enter the water for his morning swim when he saw a fisherman pull a five-foot shark to shore near Temescal Canyon. A lifeguard was alerted and the white juvenile shark was returned to the water because the species is on the endangered list.

KTLA News reporter Jaime Chambers visited Will Rogers Beach on March 25 to interview Collier about the sharks. The expert said he wasn’t surprised by what seems to be a recent increase in great white sharks off the coast, explaining that females migrate to this area to give birth. Offspring range from 47 to 59 inches in length, with two to 10 in a litter.

Collier also defended the great whites, saying that they have been given a bad rap in the press.

‘In the 20th century there were 108 authenticated, unprovoked shark attacks along the Pacific coast of the United States,’ he said. Of those, eight were fatal. ‘When you consider the number of people in the water during that 100-year period, you realize deadly strikes are very rare.’  By comparison, in 2007 there were 33 fatal dog attacks in the United States.

Collier said that this area has sharks year round. ‘They don’t pose that much of a threat. The pups stay in this area and eat grunion. There are more reports of sharks when the grunion spawn, which is every two weeks.’

Juvenile great whites eat squid and other fish, such as stingrays and smaller sharks. Adults eat seals, sea lions, dolphins and dead whales. They have also been known to eat elephant seals, sea otters, turtles and sea birds.

Humans are not considered ‘food’ for sharks, which prefer fatty tissue to muscle. Collier scoffed at the idea that adult sharks attack humans because they resemble pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), pointing out that the sharks have excellent eyesight, and can see in color.

‘Sharks are curious animals. They’re attracted to anything unusual or unique. They’ll check out something new and may investigate by taking a bite, but then generally leave,’ Collier said.

Katina Zinner, a local freelance artist, film editor and producer who swims year round in the ocean, was also at the beach that morning. She told the Palisadian-Post that while taking her daily swim in front of the Bel-Air Bay Club on July 1, 2007, she felt something clamp down on her left arm and yank it below the water. A shark had bitten down, pulled and then let her go. She had teeth and razor marks on her palms and arm.

‘It took me nearly three weeks to go back in the water,’ Zinner said.

Collier said no one is sure what the shark population is off the Palisades/Malibu coast: ‘They’ve been protected for 15 years, but there are also more people who are using the ocean, so the likelihood that someone will report a shark is higher.’

Meanwhile, Alden Harris still swims daily.

‘You have to get over it,’ he said. ‘Statistically, it’s extremely rare to get attacked by one.’ Yet he has made some concessions. ‘I’ve stayed away from that area [around the Bel-Air Bay Club]. I used to swim 50 yards out, but now I stay closer to the shore.’


This morning KTLA and Ralph Collier from the Shark Research Committee interviewed Alden about his recent encounters with Great Whites.

Watch the interview here >  (Windows Media Player required)

032509-shark-man-2.jpg

032509-shark-man-3.jpg

logan-looking-for-sharks.jpg

Logan searched and searched for sharks at Sunset Beach.

shark-posters.jpg

But these were the only sharks we spotted today.

012409-beach-31.jpg

I went down for a swim around 9am but didn’t get in.  It was foggy, murky and there was no one in sight.  I walked down along the beach towards Temescal Canyon near to where a man was fishing.  Just as I got near to him something large shot across the surface of the water for about thirty feet parallel to the shore, ten yards out.  I could see that the fisherman had something big on his line and I asked what he thought he had.  He said casually, “shark”.  I knew right then and there it was one of the Whites we had been seeing this past week.  So I waited and watched.  The shark took the line out about fifty yards off shore and then it breached, twisting and turning completely out of the water flashing it’s white belly.  The fisherman thought he had lost him at this point but the line went taught again and the fight resumed.

After twenty minutes the fisherman brought the shark to the shore break.  I told him that if it was a White he would have to release it.  He gaffed it in it’s side (which I wished he wouldn’t have done) and hauled him onto the beach.  A lifeguard, who was watching from his car, came down to get a closer look and we agreed that it was, unmistakeably, a juvenile Great White Shark about 5 – 6 ft in length.  It had the signature snout and chin-like bottom jaw, a white belly and a ridge on either side of the tail behind the dorsal.  Also, the gills were long.  I felt as though I were in the presence of royalty, a prince, and that I should bow and be humble lest he decide to hold a grudge.

The lifeguard called in to report the catch and also called several people trying to find someone with a camera.  I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a single camera or camera phone within a mile!  Not even a couple of tourists strolling by had one.  No wonder these sharks seem so illusive.

Another lifeguard came by and we agreed that the shark needed to be released back into the water because, we believed, it was on the endangered species list.  The gaff wound didn’t seem to be too bad.  There wasn’t any blood coming from it.  So the fisherman cut the line and pushed the shark back into the surf.  The shark flipped it’s tail and was gone.  I hope it survives.

I couldn’t help but feel that even though the shark’s eyes were vacant and black and that it showed us it’s gaping jaws several times, it still had a juvenile, neotenous look to it and it seemed kind of scared, helpless and cute of all things.  I felt sorry for the little guy.  I just hope it shares the same sentiment towards me should we ever meet again.

great-white.jpg

A juvenile Great White Shark similar to those Alden has seen this week.

shark-link.jpg

Click here to all three reports on Temescal Canyon, Pacific Palisades and Keith Turner’s account at Sunset Point.

sp32-20090319-084800.jpg

Also mentioned in the LA Times.  Click link above.

sunset-link.jpg

And at SunsetSurf.com