Great white shark tracked to ‘infamous’ California surfing beach

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A great white shark has been hanging out near shore at a popular California surfing destination known for shark attacks.

Michael Domeier of the Marine Conservation Science Institute stated via Instagram Friday that the female white shark was positioned off “infamous” Surf Beach at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc.

Fatal shark attacks occurred in that area, north of Santa Barbara, almost exactly two years apart in October 2010 and 2012. A nonfatal attack, also attributed to a great white shark, occurred in 2014. (Surf Beach is open to the public.)

The tagged white shark currently off Surf Beach is named Betty White. She was a sub-adult 12-foot female when she was tagged off Southern California in 2020.

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Dozens of sharks tagged by the MCSI can be tracked via the group’s Expedition White Shark app.

The app on Friday and Saturday showed Betty White on land near Lompoc.

Domeier, MCSI president and executive director, explained that the peculiar positioning “just demonstrates the imprecision of location estimates that are based on the Doppler Effect.”

Still, the sight of a yellow dorsal fin marker well inland inspired attempts at humor beneath Domeier’s post.

“You sure Betty wasn’t hitting up the Starbucks in Albertsons?” one person commented.

To which Domeier replied: “Or maybe looking for a CA dispensary before heading back to [Hawaii].”

–Generic white shark image courtesy of ©Pete Thomas