North Carolina’s weather has never been what you’d call predictable, especially off of Cape Hatteras (all those shipwrecks have to come from somewhere). That said, what I saw yesterday while tagging sharks off of Hatteras takes the cake. During what had been an uncharacteristically nice day on the water, I saw what can only be described as an actual, real-life sharknado. Apparently anything is possible off of Cape Hatteras.
How did this happen? It involves a weather phenomenon known as a waterspout, which is best described as a tornado filled with water, and sharks that aren’t anywhere near as large as the great whites and hammerheads in the movie. As we were hauling in a gillnet set, one of these waterspouts suddenly and spontaneously formed right next to the damn boat. While the effects of waterspouts are extremely localized and didn’t affect us much on the boat, a bunch of spiny and smooth dogfish sharks found themselves sucked up into the funnel and thrown distances up to 50 feet, with a few even landing on the deck. These sharks had likely either been caught in the net or milling about it picking off bycatch. All of these small sharks in one specific area and the suddenness of the waterspout formation were all the ingredients needed to make an actual sharknado. Fortunately, dogfish are tough critters and we were able to release all the sharks that landed on the boat alive.
Don’t believe me? Fortunately I had my camera running in video mode to film the gillnet haul when all this happened. Check out this incredible video below the jump.
Welcome to the 4th annual April Fool’s Day post!