© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Shark Encounter Wasn't 'Jaws,' Exactly — But It Was Still Jarring


This will not be your average kayaking story.

IDA PARKER: I did see the shark grab the kayak and flip it over.

CORNISH: That's Ida Parker of Plymouth, Massachusetts. She was out on the water yesterday afternoon off the Plymouth Coast.


Parker was in one kayak, her friend was in another. They were hoping to see some seals, and apparently so was the great white shark.

PARKER: The shark just bit the bottom of the boat. It came up in between us, trying to take a test bite to see, you know, if we were a seal or not and it left.

BLOCK: Ida Parker's kayak was overturned. Her friend Kristin Orr's kayak was submerged after the shark left behind its bite marks.

CORNISH: Now, if this happened to me, I probably would've been swimming for the shore. But the two women knew better because they watch the Discovery Channel.

PARKER: You obviously know what you see on Shark Week, who doesn't watch Shark Week? So I guess in my mind, I was thinking they are attracted by noise and they're attracted by thrashing. You know, they think that it is an animal in distress; they're going to look at that as easy prey. So in my mind, I was thinking if we can stay as quiet as possible under the water, we would have a better chance of him not coming back. And so that's really what we tried to do.

BLOCK: So they waited - for 30 minutes. That's when a harbormaster finally arrived to rescue them. And Kristin Orr said that half-hour felt long.

KRISTIN ORR: We were very scared that the shark would return. I think just being in the water and not really knowing where he had come from or, you know, what his pattern was going to be, if he was going to come back and did we look different in the water now? So we were just kind of terrified at that point.

CORNISH: They were terrified. But Ida Parker says headlines calling this an attack are a little bit much. This wasn't exactly "Jaws."

PARKER: It thought we might be food. We were in its home. We would not ever call it a shark attack. I think we'll probably refer to it more as a shark incident and just a miscommunication between people and animal.

BLOCK: And marine officials confirmed it was a great white by pieces of tooth left behind in Kristin Orr's kayak. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Melissa Block
As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
Audie Cornish
Over two decades of journalism, Audie Cornish has become a recognized and trusted voice on the airwaves as co-host of NPR's flagship news program, All Things Considered.