It’s been 44 years since moviegoers were forced to wonder what they might do if they ever saw a shark at a beach following the release of the blockbuster film “Jaws.”
On Monday evening in Riverhead, a couple dozen Iron Point beachgoers might have learned the answer to that question: they’d run.
“There were a couple guys sitting on the boat ramp that started yelling ‘Shark, get out of the water,’ ” said local fishing guide Alfred Allen of Jamesport, who captured video of what he and others believe to be a shark swimming close to the shore of the Riverhead Town swimming spot. “It was reminiscent of a classic shark sighting; ‘Get out of the water fast!’ ”
By Tuesday afternoon, Allen’s video of the Long Island Sound sighting, shot around 7 p.m. Monday, had already gained more than 24,000 views on Facebook.
Yes folks, that is a shark! Right off the beach at Iron Pier. It must be ill or something because it looks like it wants to beach itself. But the bathers are none too pleased! Amazing sight! #longislandstripers #surfcastlongisland #myfishingcapecod #nysoga #eastend #riverheadlocal #northfork #jamesport #ironpier #dontgointhewater
Posted by Long Island Stripers Surfcasting Guide Services on Monday, July 15, 2019
The fisherman, who said he’s spent 33 years fishing nearby waters and hadn’t seen more than sand sharks in the past, is confident it was a shark — he described it as darker and longer than he’d ever seen — and his opinion is it was searching for a place to die.
“I feel it was not well,” he said Tuesday. “He was disoriented and looking to beach himself.”
A great white shark sighting in the Long Island Sound near Greenwhich, Conn. was widely reported in May as the first of its kind. The New York Times would later report, however, that Ocearch, the organization that reported the sighting was no longer confident in the shark was ever in the sound.
Both the New York State DEC and Riverhead police said they received no reports of a shark sighting in the Riverhead area Monday. The DEC asked that anyone who sees a shark utilize its shark spotter informational survey.
At Iron Pier Beach, which remained open Tuesday, an attendant said about 30 people showed up — some from out of town — hoping to see the shark. A fisherman who spent all of Tuesday on the boat ramp said he learned of the shark sighting through Facebook, but saw no signs of it that day.
Mr. Allen, owner of Long Island Stripers Surfcasting Guide Services, said the apparent shark he spotted Monday continued to swim west when he lost sight of it. He left the beach soon after.
The video he posted Monday has brought with it a lot of recognition.
“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” he said. “I could probably catch a 50-pound striper and not get this much attention.”