A large, hungry great white shark caught two Cape Cod fishermen off guard Tuesday when it passed on a nearby whale carcass and instead tried to take a bite out of the fishing boat.
“He’s coming right up to the boat,” a man is heard yelling in a video of the encounter.
The shark is then seen surfacing, opening its jaws and bumping its nose into the side of the boat, as if trying to intimidate the crew. It then turns away, but not before splashing water on the boat with its tail.
“The most epic thing I’ve ever witnessed on the water,” Matty Riley said in an Instagram post that included the footage. “Great white sharks up to 20 ft in length feeding on a dead whale in Cape Cod bay.”
His video, which has been viewed 29,000 times, was recorded at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Riley’s Instagram account says he’s a U.S. Coast Guard master captain and commercial fisherman out of Hingham, Massachusetts, south of Boston.
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shared his video, identifying the predator as a great white shark and acknowledging it was “large.”
Riley was lobstering with fellow fishermen near a dead humpback whale when the encounter occurred, according to the conservancy.
Part of the video shows a shark circling the chewed carcass, in waters southwest of Provincetown.
Conservancy officials noted the shark did not appear to be tagged by researchers and had a mysteriously sliced dorsal fin. It also sported a clearly seen spot of blue paint on its underside, which was likely caused when it hit the boat, the conservancy officials said.
Reactions to the video have been a combination of shock and curiosity over why a shark would butt noses against a much larger boat. It’s speculated the shark may have been trying to hoard its dead whale from being poached.
“I think they’re majestic and truly remarkable but beautiful would not be a word I’d use to describe White Sharks,” posted Charlie Walker in response to the video. “To me they’re the stuff of nightmares... and that’s why I find them fascinating.”
“If I was in the boat I would have required a snow shovel to clean out the ... brown I just laid in me shorts,” Joshua Letourneaus wrote on Facebook.