Re: Sharks

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 09:06:35 -0700

Hi Rachel,
Sounds interesting. None of my immediate circle of friends have
been attacked by sharks, however, I have had plenty of encounters.
I was a lifeguard for the City of Laguna Beach, California for a lot
of years. I am not sure they'll be useful if you are making a production
about shark attacks.

In Laguna Beach, there is a small cove just north of the main beach
that is mostly rock. There is a pack of 40-60 leopard sharks that
live in the cove ranging from 6 or 8 inches to about 5 feet. At worst
they are skittish, at best they are docile or even friendly. Any summer
day you can put on a mask, snorkel, and fins and swim around with them.
Because Main Beach is a tourist beach, I used to get the same question
over and over again. "Are there any sharks out there?" To which I'd
always reply hundreds, but they're harmless.

In the Summer, some days you got to sit the same lifeguard tower
every day, others you had to run relief, which was making your way
barefooted in between all the towers and giving each lifeguard a 15-45
minute break. Once when I was cooling off in the waters in between towers
on a long stretch of beach in Crystal Cove, there was a small, persistent fish
swimming around my feet. A couple of splashes wouldn't get rid of it, so I
picked it up with my bare hands and it turned out to be a 12" shark. I laughed
so hard. Talk about ankle-biters. I took it down the beach a little to
show some kids. We had to dissect sharks in grade school marine biology, so
I thought it'd be interesting. The kids were only about 6 or 7, but they had
already seen enough television that they wanted to "bash its head". I let it go.

Some of the other lifeguards used to have fun with the tourists too. Once
when I had to fill in at the main tower overseeing the rookies working on
Main Beach, one of our co-workers brought his boat in really close, several
times. I got calls from the towers saying that this maniac was driving his
boat into the surf, endangering the swimmers, et al. I looked out, it was
a friend of ours who had been fishing 6 miles off of Dana Point. He had
caught an 8' Mako that was too big to put inside his boat, so he strapped
it hanging off the back. He brought it in real close to scare all the
tourists. Cracked us all up; he ended up barbequeing it.

We used to spit shark a lot, actually. They catch a lot of sharks off
of Ensenada harbor. You can go down to the fish market in the morning when
the boats get in and buy a whole shark. We used to fill the back of my friend's
pickup truck with ice and then just throw the thing in there to take it back
to camp. Good stuff.

Good luck with your production. I cc'd some of my friends, maybe they
have a couple of good shark stories.


rachel spencer wrote:
> Hello there,
> I am writing from a UK TV company called Tigress productions. At the moment
> I am working on a programme about predators, with one of the episodes being
> about sharks. We are looking at animal behaviour and as part of this are
> looking for people who have had close encounters with sharks.
> I saw your web page and thought it would be good to get in touch with people
> who surf and are in touch with lots of other surfers. Do you know any people
> who have been attacked by a shark and may be interested in talking to me ?
> Do get in touch if you can help, or if you want to know more about the
> project,
> I look forward to hearing from you,
> Assistant Producer
> Tigress Productions
> 2, St Paul's Road
> Clifton
> Bristol BS8 1LT
> 44 117 933 5609 (direct line)
> 44 117 933 5600 (tel)
> 44 117 946 6532 (fax)