A few buddies out on a fishing trip got the surprise of a lifetime when a visitor they were not expecting came to check them out. Their encounter with the great white shark was something they say they'll never forget and it was all caught on video.
"Great white coming right at us!" They said they knew immediately what was swimming just feet from them, "That's ‘Jaws' swimming right there you know?" but they still could hardly believe their eyes that a large great white shark was circling their boat.
"It just cruised and circled around the boat for a good 10-15 minutes," said Rob Pompilio. He and a few of his buddies had the close encounter Sunday afternoon while fishing about 30 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, and broke out their cell phones to capture the creature on video. "I've caught a lot of incredible fish, but nothing like this," he said, "even though it didn't take our bait or anything, didn't take our line, it was totally unforgettable."
"We always talk about 'em, but you know, you never really see 'em," said Mike Long, who was also on the boat, "and this is one of those things that's just like...wow, that, it's right there."
Experts say it's not uncommon to see these sharks and others in our waters, but say they have been seeing more of them in the last five years thanks to a growing food source. "It's becoming a common thing year after year now, especially with the seal population exploding in the northeast," said Bob Schoelkopf, Found and Director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. He says you shouldn't be frightened, but should be aware that they're out there. "You should keep an eye out - you see fins in the water, common sense should tell you, get out of the water."
Besides having video, the guys have another souvenir from their experience, scratch marks left on Rob's boat from when he said the shark tried to "taste it." "It came up, bit the front of the boat," said Pompilio, "not violently, just checking it out, probably thought we were a dead whale."
They described the shark as curious, not aggressive - and just an amazing creature they had the once in a lifetime opportunity to see up close, in the wild. "I can die a happy man now," said Long, "I mean, I've always wanted to see one in person, I never thought I would."
Experts say it's unlikely to see these types of sharks near the shoreline, because they're usually chasing their food, which is out in deep water