When a group of 160 tourists took to the waters of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, United States to go whale-watching, they probably did not expect to see sharks — or a whale being chewed on by them.
Marine biologist Joanne Jarzobski shared the rare encounter on Facebook through her page, Joanne Jarzobski Photography. The photos show a finback whale lying belly-up in the water while a great white shark chomped on its remains.
“The whale is belly up and the black and white stripes you see are the pigmentation of the rorqual pleats (throat pleats),” she explained to INQUIRER.net.
Jarzobski related that in the morning of Oct. 14, there was a report of a dead whale seen on the bay and a request to document it. The whale’s cause of death is unknown.
She was aboard Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises later in the day when she and the boat passengers spotted the unique sight. The marine biologist has been on whale-watching boats for 22 years in New England, but seeing the sharks and the whale still shocked her.
“There were at least two great white sharks scavenging on the dead whale,” she said. “One of the great white sharks was extremely large, estimated to be 18 feet or longer. She was huge!”
“Dead whales are part of a great white shark’s diet and they help to break down the whale and contribute those nutrients back into the system,” she explained. “Sharks have gained a notoriously bad reputation yet sharks are a very good sign of a healthy ecosystem.”
“Getting the opportunity to see a great white shark in action is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our passengers and crew alike,” Jarzobski shared.