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Family has close encounter with 25-foot rare shark

Family Has Close Encounter With 25-Foot Rare Shark
PUGET SOUND - A local family's fish tale is making headlines across the country after a rare sighting of a 25-foot basking shark.

The shark swam right up to the family's boat, so they turned off the motor and just watched. The family got the show of a lifetime.

"I didn't really feel scared, just excited," said Grace Coale who spotted the basking shark. "And just really wanted to get pictures."



It all started when Coale spotted a fin while out fishing off Haines Wharf in Edmonds.

"When I started to register how big the shark was I realized it couldn't be a great white," she said. "It couldn't be a sixgill. It couldn't be anything besides a basking shark."

The basking shark is extremely rare. The creature came close enough to their boat that she could have reached out and touched it.

"There was really no reason to feel afraid unless she or he knocked over the boat and I really didn't see that happening," Coale said.

Coale decided to send the picturees to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who confirmed it was indeed a basking shark.

"It was surreal and really special," she said.

The Puget Sound is home to not just one but eleven different shark species including the sixgill, the third largest predatory shark in the world.

Sharks play a vital role in the ecosystem but are rarely seen from the surface - which is why Coale wants to spread the word about her incredible encounter.

"I hope this makes people be less afraid of sharks," Coale said.

The basking shark population has been declining since the 1970s. They've never recovered from commercial fishing in the 1950s.

So if you do see one, take a picture and send it to NOAA, so they can track the sighting.

Join the discussion

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hemirr1980 August 15 2014 at 6:57 AM

Another AOL "creature" "beast" exclusive.

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1 reply
houcasey hemirr1980 August 15 2014 at 8:56 AM

Yes... "shocking", isn't it?

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1 reply
CHUCK houcasey August 15 2014 at 9:38 AM

I know I am shocked. OOOOOhh.

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jeanpoetpicard August 15 2014 at 11:48 AM

Puget Sound isn't exactly the Ocean. It is a 60 mile long inland sea and doesn't join the ocean until you get to the Straits of Juan De Fuca. And it is actually known more for it's very large octopus and great tasting clams and oysters....than sharks. This is fairly rare.

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halmark August 15 2014 at 9:31 AM

In "Sea Hunt", Mike Nelson was always concerned about most sharks. He said the best thing was for humans in the water to stay away from them. And give them the utmost respect. Since the advice came from Mike Nelson, I believe it. And so should everyone else.

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cburn7962 August 15 2014 at 2:24 PM

Of course , they are normally in Washington , D.C. but they are on vacation for 5 weeks

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michaeltlyster August 15 2014 at 1:29 PM

I had no idea that Hillary could even swim. Nor that she had such a prominent dorsal fin (usually hidden by the pants suit).

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dwtomczyk August 15 2014 at 11:20 AM

Volkswagen has many models. which one? why not say the size of a ford or gm? better yet car sized.

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CHUCK August 15 2014 at 9:37 AM

CREATURES AND BEASTS, OH MY.
Call it what it is.

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USS Titanic August 15 2014 at 9:26 AM

I'll stay in the Mid West...the shark can stay in the ocean...we will both live a very long and happy life

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srpatterso August 15 2014 at 9:19 AM

"I hope this makes people be less afraid of sharks," Coale said.

Why would it make people "less afraid"? If it was a great white, a tiger, a mako, hammer head or bull shark you would have been terrified. The basking shark has nothing to do with those that bite you in half.

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jreyn57871 August 15 2014 at 8:36 AM

They are not "rare". Been commercial fishing for 50 years and they are not rare.

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2 replies
IBruzEZ jreyn57871 August 15 2014 at 8:41 AM

Article stated "commercially fished and never recovered in numbers" so they are NOW rare.

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lbbatthebeach jreyn57871 August 15 2014 at 8:46 PM

Apparently, according to the arcticle, it's because of people like you that they ARE rare.

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