A newbie kayaker tells the Boston Globe he had "my own little moment with God" while being trailed closely by a great white shark as he paddled off a crowded Cape Cod beach over the weekend.
"I turned into a professional kayaker all of a sudden," said Walter Szulc Jr., 41, of Manchester, N.H., who was making his maiden kayaking voyage Saturday afternoon about 50 yards off Nauset Beach in Orleans, Mass. " I paddled like there was no tomorrow, like my life depended on it, and it's quite possible that was the case."
Sunbathers screamed after spotting the shark, and swimmers quickly headed for shore. A paddleboarder pointed out the dorsal fin of the Jaws creature ominously trailing Szulc's blue kayak, and the photo has been making the Internet rounds.
"To actually see it, to see the fin come out of the water behind me, it was a moment, almost like I was watching it happen to me," Szulc told the Globe. "It's hard to explain."
He estimated that the shark was less than 10 feet behind, and that the big shadow stalked him for 60 to 90 seconds before turning away. The harbor master estimated the shark's length at 12 to 14 feet.
Szulc had overturned several times during the day and was trying to get the attention of his two teenage children to show off his paddling prowess. Moments after the shark turned, he tipped in shallow water.
The Cape Cod Times caught up with the paddleboarder, identified as local resident Dana Richardson, who described what he saw.
The beach was closed the rest of Saturday but reopened Sunday.
It was the third shark spotting off Cape Cod beaches since the end of June. They apparently are being attracted by seals; two were seen last Tuesday. Officials advise staying at least 300 yards away from seals, a major food group for sharks.