Possible great white sharks spotted in 3 Maine locations – Press Herald
Friends fishing 26 miles off Portland reported to the U.S. Coast Guard that a great white circled their fishing boat, and other sightings were also reported in Wells and Old Orchard Beach.
Three separate possible sightings of a great white shark were reported along the southern Maine coast on Saturday, which was the 40th anniversary of the release of the movie thriller “Jaws.”
None of the sightings has been confirmed by officials who say they are keeping a look out along coastal waters and are encouraging people to report other possible sightings.
Kevin Proctor of Portland and four friends reported to the U.S. Coast Guard the sighting of a great white shark at about 7:45 p.m. while fishing 26 miles out from Portland. Another sighting of a great white shark was reported by a passenger on a charter fishing vessel to the Wells harbor master early Saturday afternoon a mile off Moody Beach. One of the passengers, Jon Thibault, took a photograph of the Wells sighting. Wells police also said a master diver reported seeing a great white off Old Orchard Beach Saturday.
Proctor, a marine engineer, said he and his friends, Scott Lever, Brian Lever, Ben Bush and Evan Martzial, were fishing for blue sharks all day and hadn’t gotten a bite in a spot where they usually have great luck.
“All day long it was nothing. We are ‘what are we doing wrong?’ ” said Proctor.
Then Scott Lever leaned over the 22-foot center console fishing boat and saw a shape.
“He said is that a whale?,” said Proctor who works on a ship stationed in Alaska.
Proctor said the shape was at least 6 feet wide and about 3 feet longer than his boat. It was gray with spots and a vertical tail fin.
“He was interested in our bait but came under the boat, circled around and came up parallel to the boat before he dove again,” said Proctor.
Proctor said he reported the sighting to the Coast Guard at his father’s urging.
“I’ve never seen a great white before,” said Proctor.
Proctor said he and his friends tried to take a photograph of the shark but there was too much glare on the water.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Kurt Hein confirmed the reported sighting but said the Coast Guard could not confirm that it was a great white shark.
Wells police are monitoring Moody Beach after the report of a possible sighting Saturday afternoon. Sgt. Kevin Chabot said in a statement that while shark sightings are not uncommon, they are rare at this time of year and so close to the shore. Chabot said his department encourages people to report possible shark sightings .
Old Orchard Beach lifeguards are also keeping an eye out for great white sharks after a master diver swimming off Old Orchard Beach on Saturday reported to Wells police that he had spotted a great white. Wells police passed the message on to Old Orchard Beach.
Katie Bordeau, Wells Beach chief lifeguard, said because of the rain there were only a few surfers at the beach Sunday. The beach was shut down for two hours Saturday afternoon after the first possible sighting was reported.
Bordeau said the lifeguards are equipped with binoculars and have been watching the water. She said shark sightings along the coast are very rare.
“I have never seen a shark from shore,” said Bordeau, who has been at lifeguard at Wells Beach for eight years.
The great white, which hunts seals and sea lions, is the largest predatory fish in the ocean, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts. It can reach more than 20 feet in length and weigh more than 5,000 pounds. A great white can live up to 70 years and reach speeds of 35 mph. Great whites live in waters off all the continents except Antarctica. Scientists estimate there are 10,000 great whites in existence because of overfishing.
The thriller, “Jaws,” directed by Stephen Spielberg and based on the book by Peter Benchley, first released 40 years ago, features a man-eating great white that terrorizes beachgoers in the fictional beach town of Amity.