Fishing became an afterthought for a group of Southern California anglers on Thursday morning as an enormous great white shark appeared alongside their 23-foot boat to feed on a gray whale carcass.
The accompanying footage, captured near the San Clemente city pier, shows the massive predator swimming just off the stern of the vessel, and moments later sinking its jaws into the whale carcass. Scars on the shark’s head are clearly visible, and the subject of some of the video narration. (The video contains brief profanity.)
(It’s not known how the whale died, but whale carcasses often attract sharks.)
The shark was estimated to have measured 17 to 19 feet, according to the Orange County Register.
“So awesome and crazy to see a massive great white like this around here,” Marc Girardeau, an Orange County photographer, wrote in the Facebook comments section.
A whale-watching outfitter captured aerial footage of the shark with a drone camera.
Lifeguards planned to tow the whale carcass farther offshore to prevent it from washing onto the beach.
The encounter occurred less than a mile from shore. By towing the carcass out to sea, it was hoped that the shark would be drawn farther from swimmers and surfers along the coast.
–Images showing the great white shark near the boat and feeding on the whale carcass are video screen grabs