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Archive for the ‘Sharks’ Category

Serenity, Sand and (yes) Sharks of Stinson Beach, Northern California

Posted by Jody on September 25, 2012

Stinson Beach, Northern California

I’ve seen Stinson Beach, California on many a “Best Shelling Beaches” list. Truth be told, though, I’ve never found a take-home seashell or sand dollar on this beautiful stretch of Northern California coastline.  No kidding!

Peaceful Stinson Beach on a gorgeous winter’s day.

Greg and I don’t go to Stinson Beach for its renowned (rumored?) beachcombing. We love heading to this beautiful beach for the quiet serenity of a long winter’s walk on a seemingly endless shoreline. I’m not sure if we’ve ever even been to Stinson Beach during the summer months, and that’s OK. Although there are lifeguard towers evident on the beach, with an average summer water temperature of 58°F, year-round rip current warnings and a shark attack history, we never plan to do much more than get some sand between our toes!

Left side of Stinson Beach safety sign

Right side of Stinson Beach safety sign

Even though this very thorough warning sign is posted prominently at the entrance to the beach, the Golden Gate National Recreation Site page states: “Swimming is only recommended from late May to mid-September when lifeguards are on duty.” All righty then…

The following Q & A comes from a wonderful White Shark Information webpage supported by the California Department of Fish and Game. In it you can find answers to many questions about white sharks (aka: great white sharks, or if you’re a surfer: the men in the grey suits).  The site covers everything from what white sharks typically eat to how to tell white sharks from other species of sharks and their role in the marine ecosystem. It’s definitely worth a look!

Q: How can people avoid white shark attacks?

There is only one foolproof method for avoiding a white shark attack: stay out of the ocean. If this is not an option, try to avoid places known for white sharks, such as the Farallon Islands, Ao Nuevo, and Bird Rock near Point Reyes. Another suggestion is to avoid swimming in areas where marine mammals are congregating. Don’t swim in or near areas frequented by sea lions, harbor seals, and elephant seals, etc. or near their rookeries.

Wearing a wetsuit and fins, or lying on a surfboard, creates the silhouette of a seal from below. Shark attacks are often believed to be cases of mistaken identity, with surfing or swimming humans mistaken for seals or sea lions. Times of reduced sunlight, such as foggy mornings or dusk, are ideal times to be mistaken for a seal.

View of Stinson Beach, California from the Pacific Coast Highway

Stinson Beach is located about 20 twisty miles north of San Francisco. Open every day of the year, Stinson Beach has rest rooms and shower facilities, picnic areas, and BBQ grills. Whale-watching is big here January through March. A snack bar is open during summer months and kayak and boogie board rentals are also available then. Keep in mind that Fido is not allowed on the beach area maintained by the National Park Service, but is welcome (on leash) in the parking lot area, picnic grounds and on the county section of the beach known as Upton’s Beach.

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.” ~Bruce (Great White Shark),  Finding Nemo

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Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Northern California Beaches, Sharks, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Surfing a Shark: A Real “Fish Story” (Seaside, Oregon)

Posted by Jody on October 14, 2011

Here’s a different twist on the traditional “fish story,” and never mind how big he was. (Actually, the shark was “this big”. And, yes, he got away!)

“A surfer says he was knocked off his board by a shark off the Oregon Coast and he ended up standing on the 10-to-12-foot great white for several seconds before it swam off” according to an Associated Press article from OregonLive.   YIPES!   Now there’s a story he can tell his gradkids someday in the future, especially since he lived through the experience quite safe and whole.  No other fish story they hear will ever compare ^_^.

“… Niblack’s board hit something solid that felt like a rock, though he knew there were no rocks there. He kicked down with both feet, trying to stand up so he wouldn’t get thrashed by the next wave, and found himself standing knee-deep in water on the back of the shark.” (AP) Nothing fishy about this tale!  There was a witness.

White Shark (Attribution: Pterantula/Wikimedia Commons)

Needless to say, this story has no lack of coverage in the press at the moment (for the obvious reasons), so we’re not going to go into detail here, but the story is fascinating, and we thought it would be worthwhile to bring it to your attention!

“Seaside, Ore., surfer says he stood on shark”

“Don’t tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.” -Mark Twain

Posted in Pacific Coast Beaches, Sharks, Surfing Beach | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shark Safety Tips

Posted by Jody on August 27, 2011

Here are simple and practical tips for everyday at the seashore!

Shark Safety Tips From The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Grey Reef Shark (Photo by Fbattail, from Wikimedia Commons)

Sharks

Shark attacks, though rare, are most likely to occur near shore, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars, where sharks can become trapped by low tide, and near steep drop offs where shark’s prey gather. The relative risk of a shark attack is very small, but the risks should always be minimized whenever possible. To reduce your risk:

  • Don’t swim too far from shore
  • Stay in groups – sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual
  • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active
  • Don’t go in the water if bleeding from a wound – sharks have a very acute sense of smell
  • Leave the shiny jewelry at home – the reflected light resembles fish scales
  • Avoid brightly-colored swimwear – sharks see contrast particularly well
  • To learn more about sharks, visit NOAA’s Shark Web site.

These shark safety tips are pretty easy to follow! Be safe out in the waves!  -J-

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Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Sharks | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Great White Shark Sighting? Mission Beach (San Diego) Closes Again

Posted by Jody on August 26, 2011

Great White Shark (Photo by sharkdiver 69, from Wikimedia Commons)

You’ll want to check out the beach reports if you are planning on swimming or surfing at Mission Beach in San Diego, California over the weekend.  A two mile stretch of the beach was closed this morning, for the second time in 48 hours, due to the sighting of what is believed to be a great white shark (aka: white shark). Other San Diego area beaches remain open.  It is expected that Mission Beach will reopen Saturday morning. (August 27)

Click here for the original La Jolla Patch stories.

UPDATE 8/27/2011: Shark Safety Tips: “Stay safe this weekend by practicing common sense precautions like avoiding bright colors, scented lotions or products, eating foods in the water, or letting your guard down, according to safety officials who patrol the Mission Beach area.” Mission Valley News article

UPDATE 8/27/2011: LA Times story: “San Diego Beach reopened after two shark sightings in two days.”

UPDATE 9/1/2011: North County Times: “San Diego: Beach reopens following shark scare” (Casa Reef in La Jolla)

Shark Safety Tips posted 8/27/2011

Have a safe day at the beach! -J-

Please feel free to leave a comment and share us with your friends!

Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Sharks, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Don’t freak out!” – Blacktip Sharks Plentiful Off Galveston Island, Texas

Posted by Jody on August 24, 2011

This time of year, blacktip sharks are apparently a common sight in the Gulf of Mexico, off of Galveston Island, Texas.

Blacktip Shark, Carcharhinus limbatus (Photo by Albert Kok, from Wikimedia Commons)

According to the NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) website  Fisheries Fact Sheet: Blacktip sharks are one of the most common shark species found inshore off the coast of Florida.  Although the majority of shark bites in Florida are likely attributable to this species, there has never been a fatal attack credited to this species in this region.”

Many Galveston Island beachgoers report spotting blacktip sharks offshore this time of year.  But, are they sighting blacktip sharks or bottleneck dolphins in the clear, flatter Gulf waters of late August?  “Go have fun in the water. Don’t freak out!”  says Galveston Island, Texas lifeguard Mary Stewart in a video and article by KHOU.com (Houston, Texas).  Apparently in the seven years she has been a lifeguard in Galveston –  Mary has never spotted a shark in the coastal waters.

That is good news!

For more on Galveston Island, Texas (about 50 miles southeast of Houston) see “Galveston Island, A Texas Oasis”.

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sharks | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Great White Shark Sighting & “Rip Current Season” On The Great Lakes

Posted by Jody on August 11, 2011

Be careful out there!

Great White Shark Sighting:  With almost no one in the water, the sand at Chatham Lighthouse Beach is standing room only!  Good luck finding a parking spot near the beach! Chatham Lighthouse Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Great White Shark (Photo by Terry Goss from Wikimedia Commons)

“Rip Current Season”, Traverse City, Michigan:  Rip current awareness for the “Third Coast” (The Great Lakes shoreline). Rip currents are not just an ocean danger.  Education is the key! Check out the NOAA, National Weather Service -Rip Current Safety- page which is loaded with information and a rip current safety video to help keep your time at the beach both safe and fun!

"Rip Current from Above" (The beach is seen at top right.) Photo: National Weather Service & NOAA, from Wikimedia Commons

NOAA: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Have a wonderful and safe day at the shore! -J-

Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Beach Safety Tips, Great Lakes Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Sharks | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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