Video Captures Shark Breaching Under Research Boat

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Sharks

This screenshot from a video taken last Monday shows a great white shark breaching just beneath the pulpit where shark scientist Dr. Greg Skomal is standing. JOHN KING/ATLANTIC WHITE SHARK CONSERVANCY

In the words of boat captain John King, “Holy crap!”


In a video shot on King's boat and posted online Monday by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a great white shark jumps out of the water underneath the boat's pulpit, where state shark biologist Dr. Greg Skomal stands.

Shark breaching has been observed in Cape waters before, but usually in conjunction with feeding. In this case, Skomal was trying to record video of the shark as part of the five-year shark population study he's conducting in association with the AWSC. As Skomal looks around for the shark, it emerges from the water just beneath the metal pulpit. It's unclear from the video how close the shark's open mouth comes to the underside of the pulpit.

The encounter occurred just off the beach in Wellfleet on Monday, July 30, and recorded on a camera mounted on the flying bridge of King's boat Aleutian Dream.

In the video's audio, spotter pilot Wayne Davis is heard directing King toward the shark. Just after the pilot says the shark is “right off your bow,” the predator leaps toward Skomal.

“Whoa, holy crap! It jumped right out of the water!” King screams.

“Did you see that? Did you see that?” Skomal responds. “It came right up. It opened it's mouth right at my feet!”

Skomal appeared to dip his camera into the water just after the breach. It was unknown early Monday how large the shark was or if it was one of several hundred that have been identified during the first four years of the population study.

Later in the morning the Conservancy posted that the shark researchers tagged a 12-foot shark off Monomoy, the eighth this season.