Video submitted by Tyler Vaughn.

It was just like a scene in a movie, said Tyler Vaughn, second captain of the Wind Rose, a chartered fishing boat out of Trinidad.

Vaughn and Captain Curt Wilson, owner of the Wind Rose, had taken six passengers out rock fishing Sunday afternoon when they spotted a great white shark swimming directly at them, he said. The boat was about 500 yards offshore when Vaughn noticed one of his passengers sitting stock still and looking pale, like he’d seen a ghost. 

“He’s got a fish on but he’s not reeling it in,” Vaughn said. “He points, and there’s a great white swimming right at us, fin up.”

The boat was about halfway between Patrick’s Point and Trinidad, in roughly 50 feet of water, Vaughn said. He estimated the shark’s length at roughly 18-20 feet.

“We’re on a big, 40-foot boat; [the shark] was pretty close to half the length,” Vaughn said. 

Everyone on board was pretty sure the shark was a great white, a common species in local waters. We’ve reached out to a marine biologist for confirmation and will update once we hear back. 

[UPDATE: Marine biologist Jeff Jacobsen tells the Outpost via email that this is more likely is a salmon shark. “They tend to swim at the surface like that,” he said, adding that we’re not currently at the peak of white shark season.]

Vaughn said it seemed like a good idea to alert the public since the shark was just north of College Cove, a popular recreation beach — “literally within a mile.”

The six passengers, who were visiting from Redding, were pretty excited by the sighting. 

“They pretty much said they’re never getting back in the ocean,” Vaughn said.

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Approximate location of the shark sighting. | Image submitted by Tyler Vaughn.