Last Tuesday Jeff Wallis and Sean Fowler said they saw dolphins and other mammals in the water vanish, . Ralph Collier with the Shark Research Committee reviewed a photo Wallis took and confirmed he believed it was a great white shark and estimated it to be between 16 to 18 feet long.
Imperial Beach lifeguards responded by posting signs at beach entrances and urging the public to report sightings. The signs came down Friday and a day later, Wallis and former IB lifeguard Kim Dodds both said they may have spotted another shark in the area.
Around 2:30 p.m. Saturday Wallis claims he saw what looked like a seal being chased about a half mile from the shore with a pair of binoculars.
"It was bigger than a dolphin, smaller than a whale calf and it was moving," he said. "I've got plenty of experience in the water and this is something I've never seen this before."
Wallis said he is on the beach everyday taking photos or surfing, but now the longtime IB resident and former Marine said he is watching the water more than he has in his entire life.
He hopes additional reports remind people to be vigilant and cautious, not work into a frenzy or panic.
That is Ralph Collier's advice too. Should you encounter a shark, it is important to stay calm, try to keep the shark in your sight and move to safety.
The Shark Research Committee urges people to report any sightings or bitten dead mammals that wash ashore. about the committee's work and more advice on how to behave if you encounter a great white shark.
If more sightings or signs of great white shark's presence are reported to the committee they may be able to send a team to the area to search for and tag the shark to track its movement. Collecting more information means people may be more accurate in the future in predicting when a shark will be present at particular beaches.
Collier spoke to Wallis Monday about his second supposed sighting and said it is possible Wallis spotted another great white shark, but without visual evidence, sightings cannot be confirmed.
"It could very well have been a shark, and it could have just been a seal trying to get rid of parasites," Collier told Wallis.
David Kacev, a doctoral student who researches sharks in San Diego and Baja California waters, said the shark seen in IB last Tuesday but it is difficult to determine the species or size from a picture of a fin.
News of Saturday's sightings first began to emerge on the Imperial Beach Lifeguard Association's Facebook page, as have photos of a dolphin and sea lion that were bitten and washed ashore about a month ago.
Former IB lifeguard Kim Dodds told one of the Facebook page's administrators he saw a shadow in the water while flying in his small plane Saturday afternoon that may have been a shark near a bait ball thrown from the pier. Dodd is out of town and could not be reached for comment.
Imperial Beach lifeguard Captain Robert Stabenow said no additional sightings have been reported to them since last Tuesday.
"Lifeguards are still keeping a vigilant watch for any shark activity," he said in an email. "If there is another confirmed shark spotting, lifeguards will interview the witness or witnesses to determine the credibility of the source, species identification and threat or non-threat. Lifeguards will then determine the action plan."