Sunday, July 01, 2007

Man swimming with sharks is his life!

A shark sighting Wednesday night at Avila Beach shuts off access to the ocean waters there.
The 15 foot great white shark was spotted swimming in the water near Port San Luis and the Cal Poly Pier.

The Harbor District implemented a five day restriction on the water in Avila.

For most people when it is known there is a shark in the water that means stay out!
But for one Shell Beach man it means time to get in the water.

Terry Lilley is a biologist who has studied sharks for more than 25 years.

He said the creatures are not the killing machines we think they are.

"The sharks know we're out there they have electromagnetic sensor. They can tell we're in the water from a mile away and when they sense us getting in the water they leave, so there is really nothing you need to or can do to protect yourself, just being a human is going to protect yourself," said Terry Lilley.

Of course, not everyone feels that way.

Some people are thankful Hharbor Patrol issued a warning and restricted access into the water.
"It's a good thing for the people who are out there swimming and the people who might be out scuba diving and doing other activities like that," said Shavahn Loux.

Lilley believes if you are swimming or diving in the water you are safe unless you are around other sea mammals.

That is what he said happened on the morning of August 19th, 2003 when Debbie Franzman was attacked and killed by a great white shark in Avila.

"She went into a group of seals. The shark came in to get one of the seals and bit her by accident," said Lilley.

Instead of restricting access to the water, Lilley said people just need to be educated about what is in it.

Officials with the Harbor patrol said after the summer they will revisit the policy for notifying the public about shark sightings.

They may begin to issue advisories instead of closing off access to the water altogether.


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