Shark Week? Great white sharks gobble dead minke whale

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This story is from our sister paper in Cape Cod, Mass.: “We were literally within like 10 feet of this happening and it’s like something you’d only see in a film.”

By Adam Lucente and Jason Kolnos | Cape Cod Times

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. — Now this is a great white shark treat that Steve Parkin and his family wouldn’t see back home in the United Kingdom.

CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO FOOTAGE OF GREAT WHITE SHARK

“I was gobsmacked,” said Parkin, describing his reaction after watching the large ocean predator feast on the carcass of a minke whale off Provincetown on Friday morning.

They were on a whale watch tour by SeaSalt Charters, a private boat captained by Chad Avellar about 2 miles off Race Point.

The minke whale was upside down and bloated when the group saw two great white sharks consuming the mammal, said Avellar, who has operated the business for five years. He said he had never seen great whites eat a whale before and the experience was a thrill for everyone on board.

The Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown confirmed it was a dead minke whale.

The whale was first reported two days ago off Plymouth Harbor, according to Kristen Patchett, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The cause of death is unknown, and IFAW will examine the whale if it comes to shore, she said.

This is the third death of a minke whale in the region in a little over a month, according to New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse. In July, a dead juvenile minke whale was spotted off Chatham, and another dead juvenile minke was seen in Great Bay in New Hampshire, he said.

Joanne Jarzobski, a marine biologist and naturalist with SeaSalt Charters, was able to take close-up photos and video of the shark and whale.

“It was a really amazing experience to be able to witness this bit of nature offshore,” Jarzobski said. “It was showing so much of its body as it devoured this whale.”

Parkin said he was not afraid of sharks but the encounter unnerved some members of his party. His favorite moment was when the shark showed its teeth.

“We were literally within like 10 feet of this happening and it’s like something you’d only see in a film,” Parkin said.

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