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15 Sharks Spotted In 30 Minutes During Helicopter Ride Off Santa Cruz Coast

SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) -- A South Bay fisherman has quite the fish story: a great white chomped down on his boat.

KPIX 5's Betty Yu and photographer Fidel Jacabo went up in a helicopter in search of sharks. What they found may keep you out of the water.

These days it's not hard to spot a big shark lurking around the Santa Cruz County waters.

"We don't want to be in the water with that guy -- pretty big," says Specialized Aviation chief pilot Chris Gularte, looking at a shark about 10-feet long.

Fisherman Marc Davis knows the power of a great white. He was out fishing for squid bait on Friday, when a 15-footer circled his boat, and left teeth marks.
"This thing was that wide, I mean it was huge, I'd never seen anything that large in the water before and I've seen a lot of fish," said Davis. "It was a full on slam attack from down below. He hit the boat full speed and knocked it into the air so he wasn't fooling around. I'm glad the boat was between me and the shark."
Specialized Aviation took the KPIX 5 crew over Capitola, where the latest attack happened. They say they are seeing more sharks closer to shore, right off the beaches south of Santa Cruz, sometimes within feet of people, and well within the surf line. After being in the air for about 30 minutes they spotted about 15 sharks in the water.


Gularte says not only is he seeing more of them, he's seeing bigger sharks.

"I've surfed for 30 years and I don't surf out there anymore," says Gularte. "I think what's happening is there's a lot of food, and there's warm water and there's a changing of the times and the great white sharks, from flying over there for the last 20 years, there's never been this many."
Gularte says he's seeing double the amount of sharks this year compared to last. And though they are mixing with people and boats, for the most part, the sharks have been relatively docile.
"They don't seem to be biting anybody, but that doesn't mean that a creature that's 7 million years old that has a single purpose - it eats, it sleeps sort of - they're designed to eat things that are smaller than them… and people are smaller than them."

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