Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a prime summer vacation spot for many, but this summer, there are some unwelcomed guests -- Great White sharks.
Beaches near the Cape Cod area have been closed and swimming is prohibited in certain areas as there have been several shark sightings in shallow waters. The great white sharks have been seen lurking the waters of Chatham, Massachusetts. The 12 to 16 feet beasts are causing concern and panic in the area as they were seen close as 50 yards from land, the Boston Herald reports.
On Saturday, a Cape Cod beach was closed as a Great White was spotted only 100 to 150 yards off shore. As the shark swam near Nauset Beach in Orleans, swimmers immediately fled the waters, however one kayaker had a more difficult time escaping the dangerous beast. The 15-foot shark was photographed stalking Walter Szulc Jr just 10 feet behind as he kayaked through the waters. Szulc paddled swiftly back to shore. The shark then headed away from the beach, but officials still closed it for the rest of the day after the close sighting, the Daily Mail reported.
For pictures of the close call, click here.
Some believe the sharks are in the area due to a large seal population. Last week the Cape Cod Chronicle took to Twitter to say "Chatham issues advisory after numerous shark sightings, banning swimming within 300 feet of seals along eastern coast."
The area has an estimated 7,000 seals near its beaches. Sharks are in the area looking for a meal and officials have reported that seal carcasses were found along North Beach Island and Monomoy's eastern shores. However, it isn't hard for a shark to mistake a human for a seal, presenting a real threat for swimmers in the area.
Despite the warnings, the shark sightings aren't deterring tourism. In fact, it's boosting it as tourists are heading to the area in hopes of getting a glimpse of one of the great whites.
However, Joe Fitzback, a veteran sea captain with Chatman Bait & Tackle, said that in order to get a real view, people would have to put themselves in danger and enter the waters. "It's a novelty of sorts," Fitzback told MSNBC. "When there are sightings, it gets kind of hectic around here. Everyone wants to come down to see the sharks. But the truth is, you can't see them from the beach, you have to go out into the water."
The fear of Great White sharks escalated after the 1975 Steven Spielberg film, "Jaws" came out. Ironically, the movie was filmed near the area where the real Great Whites are lurking.
However, the Cape Cod Shark Hunters group advises that Great Whites are not nearly as dangerous as they were made out to be in the film. "Contrary to popular belief and Hollywood folklore, the white shark is not a mindless juggernaut recklessly swimming around with its dorsal fin cutting through the surface," the group said on its website. A human has not been attacked by a shark in the area since 1936.