Cape Cod Man Snaps a Photo of a Shark Feasting on a Seal

Surfers were just yards away as the chomping session went down.
Photo by Bruce Langsen

Photos by Bruce Langsen

It was a sight he hasn’t seen in the more than 30 years he has been in the area.

Over the weekend, Eastham resident and photographer Bruce Langsen was out on Coast Guard Beach with his son and his son’s fiancé, snapping photos of the early morning light, when out in the water he saw something stirring roughly 100 yards offshore.

“I hear my son’s fiancé screaming ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’ and I turned the camera, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time, I guess,” said Langsden.

What he captured was a large shark—later identified as a Great White, he said—thrashing away at a seal.

“We have lived in the area for years, and I have never seen anything like that before,” he said, recalling the early morning feast not far from his Eastham home on Cape Cod.

In his photo, Langsen captured the fin of the large sea animal, and the growing pool of blood surrounding the shark after it attacked the seal.

He captured a second photo, too, which shows two surfers, who were also up in the early morning hours, floating on their surfboards not far from the scene of the attack. “Of course, they started moving in really quickly. Even for the surfers, I don’t think anyone is used to something quite like that,” he said.

Shark

The beach was temporarily closed after the incident, and state officials were notified about the shark.

Coast Guard Beach is part of the federally run Cape Cod National Seashore, according to the Associated Press.

“A shark expert later confirmed it was a Great White by the looks of the fin,” said Langsen.

The Cape has been a popular place for Great White sharks the last few seasons, particularly in August and early September since the seal population has exploded due to regulations in place that prevent fishermen from killing the animals. Langsen said his family saw a “pod” of about 30 seals swimming in the area where the attack occurred over the weekend.

In August, a team of researchers and scientists spent weeks along the Chatham bay, capturing and tagging Great Whites with the latest tools available, including a giant lift attached to their boat, The OCEARCH, which allows them to conduct tests on the sharks like never before.


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine sannear@bostonmagazine.com