Northwest News

It’s nearly Shark Week! Think you’re safe going in the water in Whatcom County?

Surfer’s video catches great white shark leaping out of water

California surfer Drew Palumbo was riding with his GoPro Monday, April 18, when he captured video of a great white shark leaping out of the water at Sunset Beach. Palumbo says the shark was 100 yards away and calls it "a once in a life sight ... h
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California surfer Drew Palumbo was riding with his GoPro Monday, April 18, when he captured video of a great white shark leaping out of the water at Sunset Beach. Palumbo says the shark was 100 yards away and calls it "a once in a life sight ... h

Cue the “Jaws” theme music – it’s just three days until Shark Week.

And almost like a well-timed marketing push, sharks seem to be leaping into the news on the Pacific Coast. On Wednesday, there was a shark sighting near Cannon Beach, Oregon. A week earlier, a great white shark attacked a kayaker, forcing a 4-day ocean ban in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Shark Sightings
Authorities are warning beachgoers after several people reported shark sightings near Cannon Beach. Lifeguards received reports of dorsal fin sightings on Saturday, and a paddle-boarder reported seeing the shark's mouth and feeling it bump her board. Mark Morical Associated Press

So with sharks on our minds, the question is, are there any sharks around here? Is it really safe to go into the water?

According to prezi.com, there are 11 varieties of sharks found in the Puget Sound. The most common are the Brown Cat Shark, which grows about 1 to 2 feet long; the Spiny Dogfish, which is the world’s most common shark; the Sixgill Shark, which can grow up to 18 feet long and live for 90 years; and the Sevengill Shark, which grows up to 10 feet long. The white shark is an occasional visitor to Puget Sound, while the Basking Shark can grow up to 10 meters and feeds on plankton.

If you go out to the Coast, you might encounter a few more varieties, as Washington state is home to 30 shark species of various sizes, according to a story on animals.mom.me.

There has only been one unprovoked shark attack in Washington state, according to sharkattackdata.com, and it was a non-fatal attack in April of 1989 in Grays Harbor County.

But a lack of shark attacks in the area doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Shark Week along with the rest of the country. Discovery Channel begins its week-long series of shark-related programs on Sunday, and you might want to check out this guide to all the shows:

Highlighting the lineup, of course, is Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps racing a shark, which is scheduled to air Sunday.

Planning a Shark Week party? Delish.com shared a recipe for Shark Attack Jello-O Shots:

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