Close Call: Shark Swims Within Feet of Kayaker in Monterey Bay

Cue the “Jaws” music.

A helicopter company on Tuesday shared footage of a shark closely circling a kayaker in the Monterey Bay near Aptos. Giancarlo Thomae at one point ended up in the water just feet away from the patrolling shark, but he appears to be OK following the close encounter captured on video.

At the beginning of the video shot by Specialized Helicopters, Inc. out of Watsonville, Thomae is seen paddling away at a steady pace before pulling his paddle out of the water — perhaps after seeing the shark gliding below. Thomae, a marine biologist, continues to float and gently paddle for several more seconds while the shark circles, at times coming within feet of the small kayak.

Though the helicopter only catches one shark on camera, Thomae says he was surrounded by more.

“I saw a fin and then, sure enough, I had three great white sharks near my kayak,” he said.

The video then cuts to another angle and captures Thomae in the water next to his kayak with the shark swimming away nearby.

Thomae said he dropped his sunglasses in the ocean and fell out of the kayak trying to get them.

Just before the video came to an end, Thomae could be seen climbing back onto his kayak.

“When I saw the video from the chopper and them circling me and following me, it’s a little scary,” Thomae said.

David Ebert from the Pacific Shark Research Center says he has spotted as many as 30 great whites off the coast of Aptos. He says the population has been growing every year.

“It speaks to the health of the bay we have a lot of food, the seal and sea lion population has increased and there is more food so it’s only natural that there are more sharks here,” said Ebert.

Despite the growing number of shark sightings, no shark warnings have been posted in the area.

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