A populated area such as Manhattan Beach, California seems to be an unusual place to spot a shark, but unfortunately they're not that uncommon in this area of the Pacific coast.
It is especially surprising when that same shark went undetected by family or beach goers. The discovery that there was a shark at all didn't come until later, when June Emerson reviewed the photos from the day at the beach with her family.
In the photos, Emerson noticed her son Quinn and his friend surfing the waves, with a good-sized shark within feet of them.
“It was quite a shock to see,” Emerson said.
“Many local surfers and lifeguards have seen this [photo] and believe it to be a shark,” she said. “Of course, I told my kids it was dolphin, as we live at the beach and are in the waters here almost daily.”
— WPTV (@WPTV) December 30, 2013
Emerson said her 12-year-old twins were also unaware of the fish swimming so close to them as they played in the waters off the popular beach on Friday.
It wasn't long ago that paddle boarders caught a video of a great white shark, around the same area. The video showed the shark just 50 yards from the shoreline.
“There are two different things in your head,” paddle boarder Jay Dohner told the Los Angeles Times after using his helmet-mounted camera to record three great whites. “’Wow, that’s beautiful,’ and ‘we should get out of here.’”
And although most people are scared to death of sharks and wouldn't stick around long once one has been spotted, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife actually issued a warning for people to leave the sharks alone – for the protection of the sharks.
The sharks coming in close to shore is a welcome development for wildlife researchers who say it's a sign of a healthy rebound for marine life after California legislators prohibited the use of gill nets for fishing in 1990.
On March 1, white sharks are being protected as they could be added to the California Endangered Species Act as threatened or endangered. Presently the sharks cannot be legally hunted, captured or killed, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
As for Emerson, she'd rather not let it dissuade her from enjoying the beauty of the Manhattan Beach Pacific Coast and can easily go on thinking it was just a playful dolphin who came so close to her son.
“Another beautiful day at the beach,” Emerson wrote on her Facebook page. “Big waves and apparently Big Fish! (Look into wave to right of Quinn Emerson, who’s out catching a few!) – Manhattan Beach, California.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons