It was in a friend's back yard last week, while playing guitars, banjo, congas and bass, singing real loud and scandalizing the neighbors, that we first heard about the shark encounter. A great white, 12 feet long, followed local waterman Vic Calandra as he competed in The Call to the Wall, an annual race. The shark bumped Calandra's board for about 20 minutes, tracking him until Joey Everett, a lifeguard who was paddling nearby, heard someone shouting. Everett saw Calandra, saw the big fin and paddled right over.
Here's a nice piece on Surfer Magazine's site. (Writer Ben Marcus shot this photo, too.) Calandra says Everett saved him.
"The only reason this thing didnít strike me was because Joey was there to fight it off. I had seen this guy around and but didnít really know him and there is no doubt he saved my life."
The two then pulled their boards together, sat back-to-back and fought off the shark. Eventually, they were able to paddle to a nearby fishing boat and climb safely aboard. Except Calandra didn't get out out of the water.
"The ocean was completely glassy when I heard something cut the water. That is not unusual because you see and hear all kinds of things when you are paddling. Usually itís a seal or sea lion or a dolphin or sometimes a fish breaking the surface, but a shark is always in the corner of your mind. This had a different noise so I stopped paddling and turned around and saw something big in the water about 30 feet behind me. It had a different kind of surface track and I thought it might be a dolphin, but the fin kept coming out of the water until it was 18 to 24 inches high.Ē
Calandra tried steering away from the big fish, with no luck. And then it started bumping his board.
"Four or five times the shark approached me from behind or laterally. It looked like a small submarine, the way the water was running off the back of it, on both sides of the fin. I slapped at the water with my paddle just as the shark turned on its side. I got a full look at its belly and the full mouth and its head and eyes. The shark was about two feet under the water but I was about six feet above the surface and I saw all of it. I would say it was 12 feet long, but it was the girth of the shark that really impressed me. Those things are just huge.Ē
Pix of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's controversial shark pen, mentioned in the story, on this page tomorrow.