Sunday, July 15, 2007

Another shark sighting!

Experienced surfers Richard and Paul Shannon of Atascadero believe they saw a large shark in the surf along San Simeon State Park about 7:30 a.m. Friday.

The men were surfing about 150 feet from the beach, directly out from the north end of the Santa Rosa Day Use parking lot. That popular Cambria surfing spot is near the southern end of Moonstone Beach.

State Parks is not closing ocean waters there to public use but instead will post signs soon to warn anyone entering the water that they should keep away from dangerous marine wildlife.
According to Ranger Rob Chambers, the signs will remain posted for five days, unless there are additional confirmed sightings near the shoreline.

Chambers said State Parks officials decided not to forbid swimmers, surfers and others from going into the water because “the sharks are in the area here all the time. This is just a sighting close to shore.”

It's the first such North Coast shark report he can remember during his nine years in the area.
Richard Shannon, 51, said he’s surfed since he was 15 years old.

“I’m 99 percent sure it was a shark,” he said of the large, black fin he and son Paul, 18, saw about 20 to 30 feet away.

“It was probably 2.5-to-3 feet out of the water, and it wasn’t ‘porpoising,’ or moving up and down, the way a dolphin’s fin would. It was slowly moving side to side in the water," the elder Shannon said.

“I yelled at Paul, ‘It’s a shark, get in as quick as you can,’” then the two men got out of the water. “We didn’t stick around to see the (shark’s) body.”

This is the third credible shark sighting along the San Luis Obispo County coast since June 27. The other sightings were at Port San Luis/Avila Beach on June 27 and Pismo Beach on July 3.
The Port San Luis Harbor District closed the waters at Avila, Olde Port and Fisherman's beaches for five days after the first sighting. The closure is mandated by a district policy instituted in August 2003, shortly after a great white shark bit and killed swimmer Deborah Franzman, 50, of Nipomo off Avila Beach.

Waters off Pismo Beach were not closed in the wake of the recent sighting there, though warning signs were posted on the beach.


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