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Swimmers Warned Of Great White Sharks Off Seacliff State Beach In Santa Cruz County

SANTA CRUZ (KPIX) -- Santa Cruz was pretty crowded on Friday, with many more expected over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Just south of the famous boardwalk, shark warning signs are catching visitors' attention.

Asked why she had come to the beach, Katie Argel said simply "to see the sharks."

It was a common refrain.

"We're hoping to see some Great White sharks," said Bethany Coffer.

"We wanted to walk over here because he (companion) wanted to see sharks," said Kiele Pozas.

It appears to be Santa Cruz County's hottest attraction. In the past week, up to fifteen young great white sharks have been spotted off Seacliff State Beach.

Some marine life experts say warmer waters, brought in by a developing El Nino out in the Pacific, could be the reason for this phenomenon. One local marine biologist who paddled out for a closer look was rewarded with a close encounter right beneath his kayak.

Despite the warning signs, there are those, like Justin Miranda, who will not be deterred from a swim in the surf.

"I was a little wary. But it's all good," he told KPIX.

Others, like Bethany Coffer, played it safe, just like the warning signs suggested.

"I mean, we go in the water all the time. But I would be a little hesitant to because we put (kids) in wetsuits and they look like little seals," she said.

Life guards will be on duty over the weekend and state park officials will be patrolling the beaches.

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