(CAPE COD, Mass.) — Walter Szulc will likely never forget the first time he went kayaking thanks to the great white shark that appeared directly behind him, trailing his kayak.
He was kayaking 100-150 yards off the waters of Cape Cod, Mass., on Saturday when hundreds of beachgoers saw the shark’s dorsal fin about 10 feet behind him. People began to point in Szulc’s direction while yelling “shark.”
A nearby surfer watched in horror as the 12-to-14 foot great white approached. Szulc credits that surfer for saving his life because he was the first person to point out the shark.
“I looked back and that’s when the shark was right behind me,” Szulc said.
More than 3,000 swimmers at Nauset Beach were asked to get out of the water when the shark was sighted.
“Everyone was very relaxed and the shark put on quite a show moving back and forth out in front of the beach, but it was done in a very orderly fashion,” Harbormaster Dawson Farber said.
It was the third great white sighting in Cape Cod in the past couple of weeks. The sharks are drawn to the area because of a huge spike in the seal population. Seals are essentially shark bait.
Author Jonathan Kathrein, who survived a shark attack, said the fear of sharks is overrated.
“The reality is sharks aren’t trying to eat people and statistically in almost every shark attack, the person who’s attacked survives,” Kathrein said.
Szulc credits his own survival to instinct.
“I just reacted. I thought it was either it or I’m getting in so I just paddled like no tomorrow,” he said. “I kind of ran out of the water like a little child.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis, CNN
Gregory Krieg, CNN
MC2 Amanda L. Owens, U.S. Navy