Just when Cape Cod beachgoers might have thought it was safe to go back in the water, a 12-foot shark was spotted dangerously close to shore.
Suzanne Grout Thomas, Wellfleet beach administrator, said the shark was seen only five feet off of Newcomb Hollow Beach among a group of seals early Sunday morning.
“As the seal population grows, there’s more and more sharks,” she said.
This is the first confirmed shark sighting in Wellfleet this summer, but it comes not too long after Chris Myers fell victim to the state’s first great white shark attack since 1936. Myers was attacked July 30 off the coast of Truro, a town that borders Wellfleet.
Thomas said this sighting will likely not be the last.
“We’ll probably see a few more this summer,” she said. “We saw a handful last summer, but nothing that was that close to shore.”
The town operates four ocean beaches, all of which have lifeguards.
Thomas said the lifeguards know what to do if a shark shows up and that local emergency personnel have been notified of the risk of an attack in the area.
She said the monster fish was seen by Wellfleet Police Officer Jerre Austin, whom she described as an experienced deep-sea fisherman.
A beachgoer also alerted lifeguards recently about a fin far off the shore between White Crest and Cahoon Hollow beaches, but Thomas said that sighting was unconfirmed.
She said staff have posted signs on the town’s beaches notifying swimmers of recent shark activity, but that there aren’t any fewer umbrellas on the sand.
“They want to see a fin,” Thomas said. “They’re very excited.”
Melissa Werthmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.