It was a late August evening, approaching nightfall. I was surfing an undisclosed break in Marin County, when I and three of my fellow neighboring surfers saw an enormous dorsal fin breach the surface of the water. Our jaws dropped as our bowel and bladder control released. I forget which one of us yelled “SHARK!!,” but I was half way into the shore before anyone else had heard. Another group of surfers that heard the cry paddled in to shore only to join us as we frantically gasped for oxygen. We yelled it again, “SHARK, SHARK,” as we waved to the remaining 20 surfers out in the water. Several of the surfers came in, but there was a good amount that did not. These guys were either deaf, dumb, immortal, or possibly any combination of the three. I was almost positive that I’d witness carnage, but to my dismay, none of these brave souls got attacked. It was quite obvious that the shark had seen these floating appetizers only to snub its nose in disgust. It made me ponder whether or not white sharks are intentionally malicious toward human beings – or if this one was just full.
FYI – human beings do not have an adequate amount of fat to satisfy a great white shark – that’s why most attacks are one-hit encounters.
Well what do you know –August passed, and San Francisco and Marin were full of shark sightings. For the average resident or tourist, a summer shark sighting may be a tragedy; calling halts to all summer-rentals, tours, and outings. However, for the avid surfer of Marin waters a shark sighting in August is what we on “the in” like to call the norm.
If it seems like Marin and San Francisco have shark sightings EVERY August you may be correct. As the surface water warms in the summer months (typically late August), a plethora of plankton and fish conglomerate to the area. Due to this, other sea mammals come in to feed – in turn the sharks follow their prevalent prey. Although true Marin surfers will say that most sightings occur in August because there are more beach-goers looking to spot them, researchers state that the population of Red Triangle sharks drops one-tenth in the cooler months – thus, there really are more sharks in NorCal in August. So if you’re really freaked out about sharks, just remember that your odds of getting hit by one just dropped by ten percent, because August came and went already. You’re welcome.
Note: The Red Triangle is a coastal region of NorCal consisting of the waters between Bodega Bay, San Francisco, and the Farallon Islands – ummm…sharks live here.