CARPINTERIA, Calif. - It was nature in its raw form. A dead dolphin just outside of the surfline at Padaro Beach west of the City of Carpinteria, was chomped until it was gone by several great white sharks Sunday.
It was captured in a drone video by Carlos Gauna who goes by the social media name the Malibu Artists.
It has been released on YouTube.
In the video you can see the relationship with the shoreline, two vessels and several circular trips back and forth by the sharks to eat the dead dolphin.
It is not known how the dolphin originally died.
The video is being analyzed by many area shark photographers and researchers who often work together and share information.
One is Montecito resident Harry Rabin, a videographer and documentary producer who owns On the Wave productions. He is also with the non-profit Reef Guardians . Rabin is regularly working with his team and scientists including the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab.
He said a recent video of the dolphin feeding shows some significant behavior. "The larger the more dominant one you can see in that video took charge."
He has been tracking the juvenile sharks in the same waters every late Spring and Summer for several years. Rabin also works with Dr. Chris Lowe with the Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach on video and shark tagging projects.
One of the sharks in Sunday's feeding was believed to be a juvenile that's been in the same waters for years and is returning, now a few feet longer. The aggressor was a female.
The area is an attraction to sharks looking for sting rays as food. They are plentiful in the area.
The site for this activity is not the primary spot for the City of Carpinteria visitors who are a few miles away on what is called the "World's Safest Beach" where Linden Ave. meets the waterfront.
This site is up the coast from Santa Claus Lane between Carpinteria and Summerland.
NOT CONSIDERED RARE SIGHTINGS
Seeing the sharks is no longer that unusual at this spot. "The smallest we've seen are five feet. They are generally six to eight feet. These larger ones, at 10 feet are still considered juveniles."
He says these sharks are very territorial. "They like to pick out an area where they know their prey is and anything that comes in to that area becomes a threat," said Rabin. "So they will nudge you or they will bite you as in the case of that one woman who was out here swimming."
An ocean swimmer in May was beyond the breakers with the sting rays and was struck by a shark with a quick hit. A photo shows a bloody small gash on the top of her foot but not what you might expect from a shark bite. She was treated on the beach and transferred to Santa Barbara's Cottage Hospital.
Because Padaro Beach has become a popular place for sharks it doesn't mean you don't have to go in the water. If you want to have a safe day at the beach just stay close to the shoreline and don't swim out too far from the surf line. If you do be aware of your surroundings and avoid being near the rays, a food source.
Rabin recently was placing a camera in the shallow water "and bam a great white over 10 feet right in front of my face."
Reef Guardians routinely educates the public about the sharks here. "We find most of these younger people are in it because of the environment , they appreciate nature."
GOLETA AND SANTA BARBARA ENCOUNTERS
Up the coast in Goleta last week, a different shark encounter by two pier fishermen.
Rabin has seen the video. A fisherman " had the thresher (shark) on the hook and the other guy had the Mako (shark) that broke loose from his leader on his fishing pole and it moved 30 yards over and took out the thresher shark. That was just a rare sight."
And when it comes to rare, Rabin had his drone up and in the bottom of a shot a shark burst from the water and took a flying breach a few weeks ago, again off Carpinteria.
"Their DNA drives them. They are going to graduate from bat rays and come up from the bottom and take out bigger prey, so if was fantastic to witness that sight and share it with everyone"
He also has sightings of the Santa Barbara coastline below shoreline park up to the waters by the Douglas Family Preserve.
Many of the sharks are returning to areas where a certain range of water temperatures exists. About four years ago during a strong surge or warm waters a large increase in sharks were reported into the area.