Close Shark Encounters On U.S. Coasts

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Great white sharks are making their presence known on both U.S. coasts now, with recent attacks reported in Massachusets, Florida and California.

One of the most dramatic encounters happened Saturday afternoon, when a 12 to 14-foot-long great white was seen following a kayaker. The image, featured in the above video, has since gone viral on the net.

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For visitors at Nauset Beach in MA, it was like a scene out of the movie "Jaws."

"All of a sudden, we saw this person in a kayak, and we saw a fin 10 feet from it," Lizzy Jenkins told WHDH in Boston. She and others ran onto the beach to get away from the toothy shark.

As they watched in horror, the kayaker kept moving along in a relaxed manner, unaware of what was seemingly stalking him.

"There were hundreds of people on the beach, and they were all at the edge, yelling paddle paddle, paddle!" said Dave Alexander.

Another beachgoer, Haley O'Brien, said, "Everyone was screaming."

Luckily the kayaker, Walter Szulc, Jr., heard the screams and started paddling as fast as he could to get away from the "crazy big" shark. Onlookers could see the dark shadow of the great white's body in the water.

A "no swimming" sign went up, but lifeguards and officials continue to monitor the area.

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At around the same time on the West Coast, an approximately 18-foot-long great white tore through a kayak floating around Pleasure Point in Monterey Bay near Santa Cruz, California. A man had been fishing from the kayak and was tossed into the water by the shark's impact. He thankfully lived to tell the tale.

Nurse sharks have also been out in force in some areas, with one Florida Keys man bitten in the calf by this shark species in recent weeks.

Most experts believe sharks, and particularly great whites, are drawn to beaches now due to large seal populations.

For example, Greg Skomal, a senior biologist at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries told ABC News, “The elbow of the cape has these large, dense concentrations of gray seals now, and these white sharks go to the area to feed. Because the seals are so abundant, now the white sharks are paying more attention.”

The hot weather in many locations, combined with summer vacation time, has more people going to beaches, turning the mix into a Vegas buffet of sorts for hungry, curious sharks.

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