Metro

‘It came right up, and opened its mouth’: Great white shark breaches water below boat

It was enough to make even the shark expert himself jump backward a bit.

State biologist Greg Skomal got an up-close look at a great white shark during a recent excursion off Cape Cod when one of the apex predators that researchers had been observing breached the water right beneath him, exposing its large teeth.

RELATED: Shark sighting clears Wellfleet, Plymouth beaches Monday afternoon

“Did you see that?! Did you see that?!” Skomal can be heard saying in a video posted by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Monday morning. “It came right up, and opened its mouth right at my feet!”

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In the video, Skomal can be seen standing on the research boat’s pulpit, as the captain closes in on a shark. Skomal was using a long pole with a GoPro camera attached at the end so he could dip it into the water and capture footage of the shark. That’s when it suddenly breached the ocean’s surface.

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“Oh!,” the boat’s captain, John J. King II, can be heard saying. “Holy crap! It dove right out of the water.”

RELATED: Shark breaching water not typical off Cape Cod, expert says

Standing at the boat’s bow, Skomal, a senior biologist with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, seems more excited than he does alarmed.

The conservancy, which is in the final year of a five-year study of the regional shark population along with Skomal and state officials, said in a statement that encounters like this — where a shark comes up out of the water — happen. But seeing it, and capturing it on video, is rare.

“This video shows that they’re certainly possible,” the conservancy said. “White sharks are wild and unpredictable animals. This is a good reminder of the importance of not becoming complacent and always staying vigilant when in or on the water.”

RELATED: Great white shark snatched fish off hook, captain says

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The encounter was recorded last Monday, off Wellfleet.

This isn’t the first time that researchers have had the pleasure of seeing a shark breach the water. In 2015, the nonprofit shared a video it had captured of a shark coming up and out of the water while trying to sink its teeth into a seal. The seal, which also broke the water’s surface, got away — but just barely.

RELATED: 2017: Watch a shark turn the water red off Cape Cod as swimmers scramble nearby

That encounter marked a first for both conservancy officials and Skomal, who had never before witnessed a great white breach the water during a hunt.

Cynthia Wigren, president of the conservancy, said in a message to the Globe that “in all the time we’ve been on the water, this is only the second [time] to get it on video.”

RELATED: How I survived a shark attack

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