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Point Reyes beaches opened, no further sign of shark following surfer bite

Drakes Estero

RANDI ROSSMANN,

Point Reyes National Seashore officials have opened a stretch of water closed Saturday when a shark bit a surfer’s foot.

The attack happened early Saturday afternoon as the man sat on his board, his feet dangling in the water in the mouth of Drakes Estero. “Apparently a shark came up and bit the individual, caused some damage to the toes. He hit the shark a few times and the shark went away,” John Dell’Osso, national seashore spokesman, said Wednesday.

The man, with three others, had been surfing in the area between Drakes and Limantour beaches, Dell’Osso said.

The surfer was alone as his friends already had returned to Drakes Beach, where they’d parked. After the bite, the man left the water, limped along the beach and called for help, Dell’Osso said.

The man, whose name wasn’t available, declined an ambulance ride to a hospital, Dell’Osso said.

He told rangers the shark appeared to be about 12 feet. It was likely a white shark, which at times are seen along the North Coast. Now, with northern elephant seal pup season underway they could be expected as sharks hunt elephant seals, Dell’Osso said. He said 4-5 pups were born last weekend in park coves. The southern migration for gray whales also is underway.

Park officials Saturday closed the water off Limantour and Drakes beaches following the bite. On Tuesday, with no further sightings, officials opened the area.

“We put the message out on Tuesday that the water was open again but people should of course understand the inherent risks, not only undertows and sneaker waves but we’ve got big fish too,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.