Shark Week got off to an early start.
Beachgoers in Mattituck were shocked Friday afternoon when a shark was spotted swimming in shallow water along the beach at Breakwater Park.
Donna Schlegel of Mattituck was surfcasting when she said she spotted the approximately five-foot shark. Beachgoers began scrambling out of the water. She said the shark was first spotted around 4 p.m.
A Southold Town police officer was at the beach and advising swimmers to stay out of the water for precautionary reasons. It’s unclear exactly what type of shark it is.
The shark appeared to be headed westbound around 6 p.m.
Ms. Schlegel said the shark appeared to have no interest in her bunker. She was fishing with Alice Thurber of Mattituck for striped bass. They tried to put the bunker in front of the shark, but it wasn’t interested, they said.
“It was a beauty,” Ms. Schlegel said. “It was beautiful to see.”
Elissa Capetanakis of Mattituck said she was sitting on the beach when she heard a bunch of people begin yelling “Shark! Get out of the water!”
She said everyone on the beach ran toward the water and they soon could see a fin pop out of the water. The shark was about 10-15 feet off shore at that point, she said. About an hour later was when the shark came even closer, swimming right up along the shore.
“It’s crazy,” she said.
Steven Neocleous of Mattituck said he was in the water and as soon as he saw the fin, he jumped out. He said his family spotted a shark in the same area in the late evening Thursday.
A video of possible shark sighting off Iron Pier Beach went viral last week. A local fisherman, Alfred Allen of Jamesport, posted the video on Facebook, which now has more than 54,146 views.
Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week programming is scheduled to kick off Sunday.
Top photo caption: The shark swimming close to shore Friday. (Credit: Donna Schlegel)