First-time kayaker Walter Szulc Jr. made the national news this week for appearing in a photo showing him staring back at the dorsal fin of a large shark.
It was widely reported to have been a great white, following directly behind Szulc. But on Tuesday an expert said that, after studying the image, the fin more likely belonged to a plankton-eating basking shark.
“By all indications, I think it’s a basking shark,” Greg Skomal, a shark expert with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, told the Boston Globe.
This is a time of year when great whites are off the Cape Cod area to feed on pinnipeds.
But basking sharks, which are found in Arctic and temperate waters around the world, also range from Newfoundland to Florida along the East Coast.
They're the world's second largest fish behind whale sharks and measure up to 40 feet long. They will often swim slowly along the surface, close to shore, with their enormous mouths agape. As plankton-eaters they're docile and considered no threat to swimmers.
Regardless of what type of shark it may have been, Shelly Negrotti's image (atop this post) is worth 1,000 words and then some.
-- Image showing Walter Szulc Jr. lookIng back at shark fin is by Shelly Negrotti