Shark Attack (Fatal) in Southern Maine

Bailey’s Island, so more south in Maine. But probably worth a heads up. Only the second such incident recorded in Maine. But then again the water in the Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest warming bodies along the east coast too, so the sharks’ food supply is also likely tracking differently.

As you said, water temps up there are increasing really fast. 2 years ago, we were able to comfortably swim at Burnt Island, which is 3 ½ miles off Port Clyde. My better half’s niece grew up on the shore in Bremen, and she said she couldn’t remember ever being able to swim for more than a couple of minutes in the bay without shivering. I talked to a couple of lobstermen, and they were concerned that the water temps might seriously impact lobster populations.

More sharks wouldn’t surprise me if their preferred food moves into the area because of the change in temp. Attacks are still a rare occurrence, but probably more likely to happen there than in the past.

I tried a quick swim and chose the wrong part of the tide, suffice to say I went pretty minimal on my goal of making sure I was still comfy in the water without a PFD.

But the younger folks were in the water a LOT closer to the main beach in the enclave, which tends to stay a bit warmer than where I jumped in.

Mackerel Cove is a great place; we go there often;Its is not way south Maine as it is northeast of Portland. There were two swimmers. One uninjured.
We do kayak there sometimes as the beach is an easy take off.

Possibly the same shark that attacked a seal in Phippsburg last week

Never a good idea to look like a seal nor to swim with seals . Seals are a mainstay of a sharks diet.


I fixed it above, on a quick glance I saw it as on the other side of Portland.

The only reason I mention is not to confuse the area with the long stretches of beach south of Portland rather than to nitpick. The news this morning said all beaches were closed but I can’t find a source. I would not swim off Popham or Reid for sure… both beautiful beaches.

And I am remembering the wonderful days when we surfed with seals in our yaks off Popham. Never thinking about a shark then.


My blind spot. I have gotten so accustomed to midcoast decently up from Portland that I rarely think of locations down there for activities other than doing a city day. Too many ferries and too many people against where I prefer to be.

Apparently not crowded this year but what do I know. I have not been to Portland since last November. The beaches S of Portland never were attractive to me except in winter for photo shoots for homework.

This year we are not leaving the State… feel safe here with our low rates. We are taking the canoe and paddling several dozen inland lakes on day trips. No sharks. We have spent a few weeks up in the North Maine Woods and will return for another three weeks next week.

Have not seen neighbors here in months. Most all are isolating.

Not to hijack my own thread but…

I spoke with friends last night. They too have been extremely diligent in isolating, more so than most considering that our area is running under 2%. Frankly it is also leading to depression for one of them.

This is not entirely necessary given that they could meet up with a limited number of friends outside, at a distance, like many I saw doing in the Friendship area. Permanent sets of chairs in front of the houses about 6 ft apart, occupied each evening for 6 to 8 people to gather.

I am trying to get my friends out to some place like an open air sculpture park, because there are only a limited number of weeks left before the temperatures will have us all inside again. So they can feel like they were not entirely robbed of a summer. They have done a smidge of sailing but even that tooled way back because of meeting people at the docks of the club.

But I get concerned when I hear of people staying isolated beyond what may be healthy. Not everyone is a hermit.

Unfortunately you cannot sell that idea to those who have made up their minds that the virus is everywhere about to pounce out of thin air.

We had to have help when we blew out a tire on the Golden Road up north and my neighbors were horrified that no one had a mask when I recounted this little mishap. They were coming over to show us something they needed fixed ( at a distance) but the day they were to come they said they were playing by the rules and not coming until 15 days after our “exposure” ( there have been no cases where we were).

Their grown but jobless son who lives with them probably told them we could carry the virus( I believe he is autistic). And he has not allowed them to venture out. In my mind it is brainwashing and perhaps elder abuse. But they have allowed their kids to rule their lives forever.

I agree people in general have to socialize. We cannot even get them to paddle in their own kayaks near us .They were horrified that we asked.

Frankly we have just given up on them. Nice people but their son is creepy. We work at a food bank so we have some contact with folks. There is a need for volunteers in our area. We also sometimes have neighborhood “distance circles” but they do not come.

Probably we should put the train back on the rails!


Marine Resources news conference now:
Confirmed Great White Shark attack… Victim had a tooth embedded in her. She was swimming 50 feet off shore.

Visitor from New York.

Dept of Marine Resources says to avoid near schooling fish and seals. Makes sense for kayakers to avoid too.

The other swimmer was her daughter. How heartbreaking and awful for her to deal with. Both were wearing wetsuits . Conjecture is they both may have looked like seals

Hope to sometime come to paddle parts of coastal Maine. Thanks to the virus, it will not be this year. Sharks are part of the wildlife to see, just not up close as this unfortunate victim. Prayers and condolences to her family.

So sad. Had not thought about the wet suit thing…

Just leaving this here. Parts of it are vivid

new info and warnings for those paddling in the area

possibly wetsuits were the cause. Back 1979-1980, another former WSI (water safety instructor, we taught kids to swim and trained and certified lifeguards) and I headed west, visions of I dunno, communes and sugar mommas in our heads. Anyways, we ended up in San Francisco, 10 years too late, but used to enjoy a weekly trip to Stinson beach to go body surfing. Huge waves, long rides, no one else ever in the water. One day, we saw a beer keg floating offshore maybe 3-400 yards and we swam out to it. It said …(roughly, been a long time) Univ. of Cal. Berkeley, Marine Biology dept. and we thought perhaps they were tracking tides. The buoy was fairly still, slow breast stroke allowing us to remain with it, we figured tidal flow, then it started picking up speed, I switched to head high freestyle. A few seconds later, it speeds to maybe 7-10 mph, I dunno, it’s getting towed, I can see that now and call out to my buddy “I’m gonna’ catch the next wave.” and we surf into shore. I figured “tuna”, self preservation psychology at work, and we surf Stinson a few more times before moving south. 10 years later, back east, married, watching Jacques Cousteau talking Great Whites, something I loved, having swam and dived the East Coast from NE Harbor to Miami, anyways, Jacques mentions “Stinson Beach, number one Great White shark attack spot in the world, surpassing the Great Barrier Reef.” I turned white as a ghost, gripping my chair, Janice noticed, then kind of laughed at the reaction of “travelin’ Matt.” I verified this use of buoys to track sharks about 6 years back, ironically at a Primus concert back in San Fran, next to a guy whose wife was a Marine Bio. major at Berkeley back in the day. No electonics back then, so buoy tracking it was. What I want to get at, swimming smoothly, not dressing like a seal, not wearing jewelry (Florida retirees, are you listening?) will help us survive in an environment we were not really meant to be in. Awhile after I left Cali., an Orca killed a GW in the area, and the smell (liver I believe) drove the whites out of the area (Stinson/Farallons/“circle of death” channel where “air Jaws” was first noticed iirc.) I spent time in Miami the following year, surfed clear water, noted sharks at times, vacated water, but never an issue, but also watched tourists heading into the schools of bunker (menhaden) coming down the coast, while wearing jewelry. Sharks don’t have hands, they reach out and touch someone with their mouth.

Wearing a wetsuit won’t get you killed, otherwise there would be tens of thousands of shark attacks in California every year. It’s more likely they were swimming near seals (or sealions?) or other food. Numerous documented attacks on surfers or swimmers swimming near shark food sources.

Not sure Stinson holds the record for west coast attacks anymore. They are certainly out there, and usually they ignore surfers. I’ve seen a few sharks in the area, and had a rather large one swim underneath me at Scotts Creek. GWS attacks are rare in Southern California, but a triathalon swimmer practicing at my favorite surf break was killed 12 years ago. There had been numerous attacks on sea lions in the area for several days before. About 5 years ago my son and I were waveski surfing in Lajolla and I took some video of him and his girlfriend sitting on skis about 200 yards from the sealion colony at Lajolla Cove. When I edited the pictures I noticed a large shark tail fin about 25 feet from his girlfriend. I sent the photos to a guy at the Monterrey aquarium and he confirmed that it was very likely a GWS.

I appreciate the concept of not paddling near seals or schools of fish… though you can turn a corner around a small point at some tide states and be right in a small school of fish that a seal has driven within a few feet of the land over the ledges in Maine.

I don’t see wet suits causing attacks, but I don’t know whether GWS chasing seals will go for a black object or one with white arms and legs moving in the water first. One is more like what they came for, the other is more visible. It is clear that sea lions are why the GWS gets there in the first place. We may see a focus on relocating some of those populations in major tourist areas. Not sure I would be fond of that.

no sea lions in Maine… They are predominately a Pacific animal. We have grey and harbor seals. Relocating seals is akin to herding cats! Not going to happen.

Oops on the species, was copying from above. Though I have never seen other than two maybe three types of seals.

Agree that actually moving them is not a plan. I fear more dire approaches if it gets really bad, at least someone will propose it.