‘Massive’ great white shark visits popular Santa Barbara surf spot

·2 min read

A researcher on Friday cautioned that a 17-foot great white shark was cruising just beyond the shore of El Capitan State Beach near Santa Barbara.

“She is not your everyday Southern California juvenile; she’s a massive adult that you should avoid,” Michael Domeier, Executive Director of the Marine Conservation Science Institute, stated via Instagram.

The white shark’s name is Poe Girl, named by Keith Poe, who tagged the shark in 2017 as part of an ongoing MCSI tagging and monitoring project.

Domeier’s Instagram post piqued the interest of his many followers, including surfers who had been riding waves at El Capitan on Friday.

“No way! I was just out there in the water and came in and told my friend I thought I saw a shark and he sent me this post,” one follower wrote. “I am about 99% sure I just saw her dorsal fin surface about 50 yards past the lineup.”

Another surfer claimed to have spotted a shark “with a dorsal fin the size of a traffic cone” and added, “The lonely other thing I thought it could be was an orca because no dolphin could be that big.”

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Another follower chimed in, “I’m more scared of the juvenile curious taste test than the adult who knows that we don’t have much meat on us.”

Answered Domeier: “Juvenile white sharks eat fish, stingrays and other sharks. Adult white sharks eat seals, sea lions and porpoise. Adults are more likely to bite a person than a juvenile.”

It seems, however, that any threat posed by Poe Girl has been somewhat alleviated. As of Saturday morning, according to the app, Poe Girl had moved considerably farther offshore.

But, of course, that does not mean that she won’t turn around for another visit.

–Note: The public can follow the movements of Poe Girl and dozens of other tagged sharks via the MCSI’s Expedition White Shark app.