[UPDATE 6 p.m.] Great White Shark Encountered Twice in Waters off Humboldt County

Great White Shark

Great White Shark [Screengrab from video by Eric Stockwell.]

Two different groups had encounters with a Great White Shark or sharks yesterday. One encounter was off Cape Mendocino and the other was seen near one of the jetties in Humboldt Bay.

Eric Stockwell, a fishing guide known as Loleta Eric, shot the video above. He explained what happened, “I’ve been a kayak fishing guide since 1999. And, I’ve never seen a Great White Shark.” But he said, he knew that eventually he would. “I always have a camera ready,” he explained.  “I usually have a camera on a tripod…”

Yesterday about noon near Cape Mendocino, his chance to capture the enormous predator on film came. “I was just out to get a few fish,” he told us. So, he didn’t have his camera mounted on the boat as usual. But he did have one with him. He says he had been fishing on his own but saw some folks he knew and joined up with about another five fishermen.

“I was about to leave and I was going to take my girls’ crabbing,” he noted. “I had just got a little bite.” He couldn’t see what it was at first and whatever had bitten his bait wasn’t fighting the line.

“It comes towards the boat,” he said. “I see something huge and tan. I think its a halibut…My god, it is coming right at me. I just pull it right in.”

But then he saw it clearly, “It’s a great white,” he exclaimed. “When the thing comes, you don’t think camera. You think survival!”

“[A]ll I could think was what I would do,” he explained. “It was just big like a Prius.”

Then, he said, the Great White moved sharply. “It breaks my line,” he said. “I still didn’t think to have the camera on.”

“Then, he said, “my buddy saw it.” When his friend shouted, that’s when he thought to turn on his camera. Below is the video.

He had to leave to take his family crabbing and some of the others left with him but, he said that the two who stayed later told him that they saw the shark again.

Another shark encounter was captured on video near the Humboldt Bay. We haven’t been able to speak to the photographer, Reed Gatton, yet but he confirmed via a Facebook comment that he took a video which we found on YouTube and embedded below.

It appears to show a seal being grabbed by a Great White near one of the Humboldt Bay Jetties.

Eric Stockwell who took the first video said after he got to shore he took his wife and daughter crabbing at King Salmon. He said he wasn’t worried about a shark while taking them out in “fifteen feet of water,” but later after finding out “Reed’s encounter was only about a half mile [to a] mile from us” that worried him a little.

Nicholas Simpson, an employee of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, commented on Stockwell’s post, “I’ll try to post a sign today or tomorrow just giving folks a heads up. It’s not going to stop anybody if the surf is good, but may keep the blind soloists informed.”

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: Michael Godinez sent us the following video taken yesterday near Westport showing two sharks tearing up a carcass.

UPDATE 6 p.m.: Reed Gatton reached back out to us and told us what happened. He told us that he saw the shark about halfway out the North Jetty about 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. “We had been diving at the South Jetty but it wasn’t very clear,” he said.

He and his partner then went to the North Jetty. “I had swam away from the boat,” he said, “when I got the tingle in the back of my neck that says a predator is around.”

He paused wondering if he was imagining things. Then, he said, “I heard someone start yelling, ‘Shark.” The swim back was with my eyes right open,” he said laughing. “Once I jumped in the boat, I could see it hit a seal.”

Today, he said, his phone has been ringing off the hook with people wanting to talk about what happened.



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