Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and State Beach is known for its sweeping views of the Pacific. Migrating whales are sometimes spotted in the distance.
But these days great white sharks are the premier attraction for some hikers at the reserve near San Diego. Dozens of juvenile white sharks have spent the summer and early fall off Torrey Pines and Del Mar, just to the north.
The sharks have been feeding on stingrays and other bottom fishes, keeping a fairly low profile until recently.
Anglers began to hook them and on Oct. 30 the carcass of an 8-foot white shark was discovered on the shore at Torrey Pines. The shark died as a result of fishing activity. (White sharks are protected and targeting them while fishing is illegal.)
On Nov. 4, a distance swimmer was bitten by a shark off Del Mar and hospitalized. Lyn Jutronich told NBC San Diego that the shark shook briefly before releasing its grip. Jutronich was hospitalized and treated for puncture wounds to her right thigh.
The type of shark was not confirmed, but it was presumed to be a juvenile white shark.
On Nov. 6, the Torrey Pines reserve posted a Facebook image of a white shark in a wave. The image was captured via cellphone from the bluff at Yucca Point.
View from the Guy Fleming trail at Torrey Pines. Photo: ©Pete Thomas
The Facebook post advertised the presence of sharks and listed spots from which they might be seen: Yucca Point, Razor Point and the Guy Fleming overlooks.
(Personal note: I observed at least four white sharks two weeks ago from the Guy Fleming North Grove trail. There was a field trip in progress and several children also saw the sharks.)
“For best results, plan your trip before 11 a.m. and during high tide,” the Torrey Pines reserve advised. “Sunglasses with polarized lenses and binoculars both also help.”
To be sure, the temporary white shark aggregation site at Torrey Pines is substantial.
Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach, told FTW Outdoors that several white sharks tagged off Southern California in recent years are in the area.
“We’ve detected 31 tagged juvenile white sharks (in the last month) out the 62 tagged at Solana Beach, Del Mar and Torrey Pines over the last three years,” Lowe said. “We’ve seen up to 12 sharks in a single drone video frame at Torrey Pines in the last few months.
“This is now the largest aggregation since the Santa Barbara aggregation has broken down.”
It’s not clear how long the sharks will remain in the area.
–Top image courtesy of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and State Beach