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Video: Great White Shark feasts on seal ‘close to shore’ in Provincetown

Dom Richmond took video of the apex predator on Saturday. Race Point Beach was temporarily closed to swimmers after the sighting.

Great White Shark eats a seal near Race Point Beach
Video of a Great White Shark feasting on a seal at Race Point Beach was captured by Dom Richmond. (Courtesy of Richmond Vision Studio)

As a Provincetown native well-acquainted with Cape Cod’s many beaches, Dom Richmond has seen a lot of sharks over the years, including blue and basking.

But at age 30, there was one type he hadn’t checked off his list: a great white. That changed on Saturday — and he captured the exciting moment on video.

While sitting on the beach, Richmond and his girlfriend, Susy, noticed a seal bobbing its head not too far from shore at Race Point Beach. He didn’t think much of it at first, but then Richmond, who lives in Brooklyn but is home visiting his family in Provincetown, noticed that the animal was “swimming awkwardly.”

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Moments later, he saw the dorsal and tail fin of a great white shark cutting through the ocean, closing in on the clearly injured pinniped.

“I’ve been wanting to see one for a long time,” Richmond said. “Every time I go on the water I’m always looking for sharks.”

Richmond, a photographer and videographer, said the seal first swam toward shore, where it rested for a short time before returning to the water.

“It was kind of rolling in with the waves and trying to just lay up on the beach,” he said. “It got to the beach and was sitting there for awhile.”

At that point, the shark had traveled down the beach, where it was spotted by other people and a lifeguard. This drew a small crowd of people to Richmond and the seal.

“Once the lifeguard started coming down the beach, more people followed,” Richmond said.

When the seal ventured back into the ocean, the shark made a pass at its prey in the shallow waters. This time, the seal did not escape.

“The shark would come at it, but at first it was too close to shore so it swam away again,” Richmond said. “Ten minutes later the shark came back, and that’s when you see the shark take the seal under and it never came back up.”

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Richmond posted the video to his Instagram account, Richmond Vision Studio, on Monday.

“Great White shark comes way [too] close to shore while eating a seal!” Richmond wrote in the caption for the video, which he paired with dramatic, “Jaws”-like music.

In a longer version of the video sent to the Globe, the shark can be seen circling around the seal, its tail thrashing in the water.

According to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Sharktivity app, which provides reported and confirmed shark sightings, a temporary no-swimming order was issued by lifeguards at Race Point Beach just before noon Saturday, after the shark was first spotted. The order expired one hour after the sighting.

Officials from the conservancy, a nonprofit that works with state officials to tag and track great whites off Cape Cod, confirmed Tuesday that the shark in the video was a great white.

Another great white shark was spotted off Orleans Beach on Sunday, according to the conservancy, where it ate a seal “a couple hundred yards off the beach.” A shark was also spotted off Chatham later that afternoon by a pilot.

There were two other sightings last week that temporarily closed Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro.

Richmond said the video didn’t “do justice” to showing how close to shore the shark had come for its meal. He said the apex predator was roughly 20 to 30 feet away from where the waves were breaking on the sand.

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“It was something I had been trying to see for as long as I’ve known about sharks on the Cape,” said Richmond. “For me to see it on the beach at my feet, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.