Up close and personal with sharks in the waters around Cape Cod

Combining ecotourism with the growing number of great white shark sightings off Cape Cod, 5 Investigates got an up-close look at a fast-growing way to get close to the massive animals cruising near our shores. A private charter tour leaving from Chatham run by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, where you’re almost guaranteed to see sharks thanks to the help of a spotter plane.”By using a spotter pilot, for example, we keep these animals freely swimming and we’re able to observe them in their natural habitat,” said Maddie Poirier, a community educator with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. They can even identify the shark if it’s already been tagged using a hydrophone.” That high-pitched ticking is the noise that we’re looking for. So , this means that this shark is tagged,” said Poirier. That let her identify a shark just by the sound: in this case, it was a male named Scarface who, when he was tagged in July 2019, was about 12 feet long. The ability to easily find sharks in the ocean off Cape Cod is tied to the growing seal population that continues to attract more sharks to the area. Data obtained by 5 Investigates reveals there were 541 shark sightings this year through August, compared to 203 at the same time last year, a 167% increase. The conservancy said the increase could be a result of more eyes on the water, an increase in shark ecotourism and promotion of using the Sharktivity app to submit sightings. August is typically the peak month for sharks on the Cape, followed by September and October. Captain Devin Kahn said the shark trip is the company’s fastest-growing tour.”These sharks are really cruising the shallow waters, and they’re they’re really cruising areas that the seals would be,” he said. “Everybody seems to really have a big interest in the sharks out here.” Research shows sharks are often in shallow water close to the shore. One of the many sharks spotted this day was in five feet of water, just 30 feet from the beach. Poirier said the shark charters are opening people’s minds. “We can change people’s misconceptions, and we can teach them something new,” she said. Passenger Matthew Ellis was impressed. “The fact that they’re able to actually put those sharks next to the boat, it’s pretty amazing,” Ellis said. He’s on the trip as part of a program that’s letting veterans experience the excursion for free. But it’s a pricy adventure for everyone else. The private charter costs $2,500 for a 2 1/2 to 3-hour trip for up to six people, with no money back if, for some reason, sharks aren’t seen.

Combining ecotourism with the growing number of great white shark sightings off Cape Cod, 5 Investigates got an up-close look at a fast-growing way to get close to the massive animals cruising near our shores.

maddie poirier from the atlantic white shark conservancy points out a great white  x20;shark off the coast of chatham.

WCVB

A Great White shark right next to the boat.

A private charter tour leaving from Chatham run by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, where you’re almost guaranteed to see sharks thanks to the help of a spotter plane.

“By using a spotter pilot, for example, we keep these animals swimming freely and we’re able to observe them in their natural habitat,” said Maddie Poirier, a community educator with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

The spotter plane seen aboard the shark tour boat. It leads  the boat to where sharks have been spotted from the air.

WCVB

The spotter plane seen aboard the shark tour boat. It leads the boat to where sharks have been spotted from the air.

They can even identify the shark if it’s already been tagged using a hydrophone.

“That high-pitched ticking is the noise that we’re looking for. So, this means that this shark is tagged,” said Poirier.

maddie poirier from the atlantic white shark conservancy points out a great white  x20;shark off the coast of chatham.

WCVB

Poirier drops a hydrophone into the water to detect the signal from tagged sharks.

That let her identify a shark just by the sound: in this case, it was a male named Scarface who, when he was tagged in July 2019, was about 12 feet long.

The ability to easily find sharks in the ocean off Cape Cod is tied to the growing seal population that continues to attract more sharks to the area. Data obtained by 5 Investigates reveals there were 541 shark sightings this year through August, compared to 203 at the same time last year, a 167% increase. The conservancy said the increase could be a result of more eyes on the water, an increase in shark ecotourism and promotion of using the Sharktivity app to submit sightings.

August is typically the peak month for sharks on the Cape, followed by September and October.

August is typically the busiest month for shark detections. On the  left, a map showing most of the shark sightings so far in  2022.

WCVB

August is typically the busiest month for shark detections. On the left, a map showing most of the shark sightings so far in 2022.

Captain Devin Kahn said the shark trip is the company’s fastest-growing tour.

“These sharks are really cruising the shallow waters, and they’re they’re really cruising areas that the seals would be,” he said. “Everybody seems to really have a big interest in the sharks out here.”

Captain Devin Kahn said shark tours is the fastest growing tour.

WCVB

Captain Devin Kahn said shark tours are the fastest growing tour.

Research shows sharks are often in shallow water close to the shore. One of the many sharks spotted this day was in five feet of water, just 30 feet from the beach.

Poirier said the shark charters are opening people’s minds.

“We can change people’s misconceptions, and we can teach them something new,” she said.

Passenger Matthew Ellis was impressed.

“The fact that they’re able to actually put those sharks next to the boat, it’s pretty amazing,” Ellis said.

He’s on the trip as part of a program that’s letting veterans experience the excursion for free. But it’s a pricy adventure for everyone else. The private charter costs $2,500 for a 2 1/2 to 3-hour trip for up to six people, with no money back if, for some reason, sharks aren’t seen.

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