Great white shark leaping from water at wharf sparks warning to swimmers

Author
Northern Advocate,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Thursday, 7 February 2019, 10:14a.m.
A Great White shark, similar to this, was seen jumping about a metre out of the water while chasing kingfish at Houhora Wharf in the Far North. Photo / File
A Great White shark, similar to this, was seen jumping about a metre out of the water while chasing kingfish at Houhora Wharf in the Far North. Photo / File

Sightings of a 3-metre-plus white pointer shark leaping out of the water at Houhora in the Far North have prompted warnings for people not to swim in the popular bathing spot.

Houhora man John Boag, was sitting on his deck with a friend overlooking Houhora Harbour around 12.30pm on Tuesday when he saw the shark, also known as the great white shark, leaping out of the water in triumph after seemingly catching a kingfish just metres from the shore.

Boag has a wharf on his property that goes into the harbour about 100 metres from the Houhora Wharf and he saw the shark jump out of the water three times roughly half way between the two wharfs. He said Houhora Wharf and his own wharf are popular swimming spots where people jump off into the harbour.

Boag had seen a similar-sized white pointer in the same spot last summer and on Tuesday the friend asked him where he had seen the shark the previous year.

''I pointed out roughly where it was in the water and blow me about 10 seconds later we see a kerfuffle in the water and there it was again, it was quite unbelievable.'' he said.

''There are always kingfish in the water up here and it looks like it may have got one of them. We saw a bit of commotion in the water as if it was chasing something then it leapt out about three feet in the air and did a sort of victory roll in triumph. I've lived here 38 years, and been coming up since I was five, and this is the first time I've ever seen anything like that, it was amazing.''

Boag posted the experience on the Houhora Community Noticeboard on Facebook to warn people of the shark and the potential danger to swimmers and several other people reported seeing the shark too.

Boag said he normally had his camera with him, but was too slow to get photographs of the shark.

''There are always sharks in the water up here, but I've never seen anything like that before. It just seemed to be jumping in victory.''

A spokeswoman from the Houhora Wharf Store said several other locals had seen the shark hanging around yesterday.

''Yes, it was down near the wharf yesterday. There are always sharks in the harbour though,'' she said.

■ The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), also known as the great white, white shark or white pointer, is a species of large mackerel shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. The great white shark is notable for its size, with larger female individuals growing to 6.1 m (20 ft) in length and 1,905 kg (4,200 lb) in weight at maturity. However, most are smaller; males measure 3.4 to 4.0 m (11 to 13 ft), and females measure 4.6 to 4.9 m (15 to 16 ft) on average

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