WELLFLEET, Mass.—During a recent morning surf at a town beach here, Andy Jacob spotted a dark shadow in the water just a few feet away. He assumed it was a gray seal because they are everywhere these days—until he got a better view.
“As clear as day, it was a great white shark,” said the 40-year-old Wellfleet resident, who had been surfing around the same spot where a great white killed a boogie boarder last September. He said he warned others nearby and that a lifeguard temporarily ordered people out of the water, standard protocol after a sighting.
“Any person could be attacked at any moment,” said Mr. Jacob, an artist and oyster farmer.
It is peak shark season on Cape Cod, and this summer, the huge animals lurking just offshore are an inescapable presence to the people on dry land.
Beachgoers are greeted with new warning signs: “People have been seriously injured and killed by white sharks along this coastline.” Lifeguards have new first-aid kits with tourniquets to stanch bleeding and they fly purple shark-emblazoned warning flags full-time. An annual charity swim off Provincetown in September will reroute to be closer to shore for the first time. Several surf instructors have stopped offering lessons, and parents are ordering their children to stay in the shallows.