Roger Freeman thought it looked like a great day to be out on the water. The 54-year-old man was vacationing in Cape Cod and decided to make the most of his trip by paddleboarding just off Nauset Beach — but he wasn’t alone in the water.
According to the Cape Cod Times, as Freeman was paddleboarding, he saw a drone fly past him, and when he came to the shore about an hour later, someone told him the drone had been taking photographs. When he looked at some of the aerial shots, he was surprised to see a great white shark swimming just feet away from his paddleboard!
The photos, taken by ocean and landscape photographer Cody DeGroff, show just how close the shark came to Freeman:
Freeman told the Cape Cod Times that he thought he’d seen a shadow at one point, but figured it was just a seal. Upon finding out it most definitely was not a seal, he told the newspaper, “I’m still processing it.”
The shark quickly closed the distance between itself and the unsuspecting vacationer, and was swimming just feet away from Freeman at one point, as another of DeGroff’s photos illustrates:
In case you were skeptical of that shadowy figure in the water, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy confirmed that these photos appear to be of a great white shark.
Cape Cod’s Growing Shark Population
According to National Geographic, the large seal population in Cape Cod makes it a destination for great white sharks. National Geographic also points to a study conducted by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, which found that the amount of great white sharks in the Cape Cod area appears to be increasing.
But, the conservancy seems to have its work cut out for it, trying to assess how many sharks are in the Cape Cod area. As you can see in this Facebook video, the group has had very active days spotting sharks while out on the boat:
And, given that the number of sharks seems to be on the rise, there may be even more close encounters like the one Freeman experienced. But, he said that goes with the territory of spending time in the water.
“We’re going into their world, and we have the knowledge and capacity to adjust to their behavior,” Freeman told the Cape Cod Times.
That’s definitely something to be mindful of the next time you’re out in the ocean!