Can there be such thing as a shark photobomb?
That’s what many are calling an eerie and eye-catching photo inadvertently snapped by a California mother that appears to show a large shark, or maybe a dolphin, swimming near her two children.
"It was quite a shock to see” the photo, June Emerson told KTLA about her photo, which captured the outline of a large fish swimming underneath a breaking wave close to the shore on Manhattan Beach.
“Many local surfers and lifeguards have seen this and believe it to be a shark,” Emerson said. “Of course, I told my kids it was dolphin, as we live at the beach and are in the waters here almost daily.”
Emerson said her 12-year-old twins were also unaware of the fish swimming so close to them as they played in the waters off the popular beach on Friday.
Emerson posted the picture to her Facebook page and said she has received thousands of comments from people, nearly all of whom are convinced that the creature in the image is a shark, possibly even a great white, which are relatively common to the area.
Still, other observers say it's impossible to tell without a more detailed image. For example, the shape of the fins and tail could in fact belong to those of a dolphin. Nonetheless, shark sightings in the area have become more frequent in recent years. So, it's well within the realm of possibility that Emerson captured a large shark close to the shore.
Back in November, paddleboarders captured video of a great white in the same area. That video was taken just 50 yards from the shore. And while most people would be terrified by the thought of sharing personal space with what is arguably the Earth’s deadliest predator, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife actually issued a warning for people to leave the sharks alone – for the protection of the sharks.
For her part, Emerson said she’s more than happy to just go on pretending that it was nothing more than a friendly dolphin passing by during an otherwise pristine day.
“Another beautiful day at the beach,” Emerson wrote on her Facebook page. “Big waves and apparently Big Fish! (Look into wave to right of Quinn Emerson, who’s out catching a few!) – Manhattan Beach, California.”