I’ve been in the water a little bit since Santa Cruz. I did a 1 miler in Avila on Sunday and some decent boogie boarding on Monday. Today was supposed to be our usual Wednesday night swim but unfortunately that was a no go but not for the reasons you’d think if you’re local to me and were paying attention to the news.
Around lunchtime there were reports of a shark attack in Pismo! Big news right? Apparently it was the Chamber of Commerce that broke that story on Twitter which is a weird place to start… especially when it never actually happened. That tweet was deleted although it was retweeted by some other folks a bit before that happened.
The next version I heard via a news station on Facebook was that there was a major sighting that was going to result in an up to 5 day beach closure. That wasn’t 100% right either.
Ultimately it sounds like an 80% chance someone really saw a shark going about its business out in the ocean (a random grey fin could just as easily belong to a dolphin), and local officials are calling it a credible sighting. In response they’re putting up warning signs for a few days and that’s about it.
I find it interesting the hysteria that the thought of a shark living in the ocean can bring out in people, and the speed at which the situation can spiral out of control with a little help from social media. And I mean, you really can’t beat the timing, it is Shark Week after all!
Despite all this excitement me and my friends were still planning on swimming. If there was a shark in Pismo at lunch it could be in Santa Barbara by dinner time so it’s kind of meaningless to get bent out of shape over it. What did slow us down however was the presence of a fairly healthy bait ball at the tip of the pier. Niel had been watching it for about half and hour and we didn’t really like the looks of it. A bait ball is a much more credible sign of potential trouble than someone seeing a fin or a dark shape underwater. You just have to follow the food chain to see why… fish, birds, seals, sharks… there’s no reason for us to interject ourselves into that lineup. We watched the birds diving for about half an hour and decided to call it and not swim today.
I’ll be back out there for sure on Friday and probably twice across the weekend.