great white shark

Great white shark
It is the stuff of nightmares: to be stranded in the ocean near a prowling great white shark.

This happened to Brian Correiar around 4:30pm March 18, as he was kayaking back to the Coast Guard Pier by Cannery Row after a paddle to Pacific Grove.

As he recounted March 19 on a diving website, he "was near the end of a great paddle" in which he saw dolphins and seals. Then, as he was about 100 yards offshore, he writes, "I heard a loud bang as my kayak and I flew into the air. I landed outside my boat, look back to it and to my horror saw a large great white shark no more than three feet away had my kayak in its mouth."

Correiar began scrambling in the water toward shore, trying not to splash or let his legs hang down. He then hit upon another strategy:

"After five minutes, maybe five years—it was hard to tell, I pulled out my Nautilus Lifeline and called in a mayday to the Coast Guard," he writes.

"While this was going on, the shark was using my boat as a chew toy. I saw it spin with the boat at least three times. It started pushing the boat towards me and then left the boat and headed for me. Suddenly it dove. I put my face in the water to see if it was under me, but I couldn't see anything."

As reported on the Naval Postgraduate School website, NPS meteorology doctoral student Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Franklin, who was sailing with his wife and young daughter, saw Correiar and tried to come to his aid.

"Franklin tried to pull Correiar into their sailboat, but the kayaker says his adrenalin was fading, and feet were numb from the bitterly cold water," writes NPS reporter Javier Chagoya. "Minutes later, a 29-foot Coast Guard Response boat, stationed in Monterey Harbor, arrived ready to assist in getting Correiar onto their vessel."

Back on the Coast Guard Pier, Correiar and others examined the damage to his kayak.

"I have a 14-ft kayak," Correiar writes. "Bite marks show that it had the whole girth of the boat in its mouth. My boat is covered with bite marks from end to end with multiple punctures.

"I had always thought that great whites hit a target to test it and then backed off," he continues. "This was a prolonged attack on the surface."