Amanda Currell was on a boat 40 miles southeast of Martha’s Vineyard when a large shark showed up and made its presence known.
“It seemed like it was sizing us up,” said Currell, 25.
Currell was aboard the vessel with her father, JB Currell, and their friends, Tommy Brownell and Doug Shipley, when the shark swam by.
It was June 28, and they were on the last day of their trip, sailing from Bermuda to Marion. The weather was nice and sky was clear. Currell saw all kinds of marine life that day — dolphins, flying fish, sharks, and even a marlin.
“The water looked like glass almost,” she said.
But nothing prepared her for the sight of this particular shark, which she estimated to be about 25 feet long.
“It was really shocking,” Currell said. “That shark made us feel so small.”
The shark wasn’t shy, either.
“The shark kind of circled around a couple of times,” she said. “You could tell it was curious.”
Despite its large size, this species of shark feeds on plankton and does not pose a threat to humans.
“This is most certainly a basking shark,” said Ben Wigren, cofounder and board member of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, after he viewed video footage of the shark in the water.
Basking sharks are the world’s second largest fish, and can grow as long as 32 feet in length, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“They are highly migratory, slow-moving animals often sighted close to the surface with their large mouths open to filter zooplankton from seawater,” the NOAA website states. “They are considered passive and no danger to humans other than that posed by their large size and rough skin.”