Chatham beaches were closed on Friday after at least 5 great white sharks were spotted off the coast, some as close as 100 yards from shore. Just before 11 a.m., two 12- to 14-foot great whites swam 200 yards apart, about a quarter-mile off South Beach. To the north, another great white was swimming back and forth about 100 yards off the beach. Then around 1 p.m., three sharks were spotted, all within 100 yards of the coast.
Swimming has been prohibited at all Chatham oceanside beaches for the remainder of Labor Day weekend after several great white sharks were spotted off Monomoy Island.
Gregory Skomal, a senior biologist and shark expert with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, said he spotted four great white sharks off Chatham’s coast yesterday. That prompted beach officials at North Beach, Lighthouse Beach, South Beach and Hardings Beach in Chatham and Nauset Beach in Orleans to raise the red “no swimming” signs, much to the disappointment of beachgoers trying to enjoy the last big weekend of summer.
Skomal and his crew managed to tag two of the great white sharks, which he said were 8 and 10 feet long.
The town is on high alert after five large sharks, possibly great whites, were spotted trolling the waters close to Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge yesterday afternoon.
Town and state officials have issued warnings to the public urging people to avoid swimming where seals congregate. Town officials are expected to decide today whether further measures, such as beach closures, are necessary.
The large sharks were spotted just off shore at Monomoy Island, a National Wildlife Refuge where thousands of seals sun and swim daily.
The sharks were seen in the afternoon more than one mile from Lighthouse Beach, the nearest swimming beach.
Two men spotted a shark attacking a seal while kayaking from Chatham to Monomoy Saturday morning. The men heard a large splash near a sand bar about a quarter mile south of the break in front of the Chatham Lighthouse. As they approached the area of the splash they saw a large gray seal breach with blood streaming from it and a large black fin in the water nearby. At one point the seal surfaced for air about five feet from the men’s kayaks.
Watch your back Kathy Lee… that’s not too far from Nantucket.