Dolphin saves surfer from shark attack in JBay

(c) Dr. Dirk Schmidt

A mellow surf at the Point in Jeffreys Bay this morning nearly turned into a life threatening situation for local surfer Elke Schoeman when she narrowly missed being bitten by a shark when padding back to the beach.

“I was paddling towards the gulley at Lower Point and there was a dolphin swimming next to me. I was watching it swim and even stopped paddling for a bit as it is always something special when a dolphin is in close proximity”, said Elke.

“Suddenly there was a huge commotion right in front of me and literally right where the gulley is. The water was already shallow and all I saw was this big black shape and the next thing there was lots of blood in the water. I scrambled onto the rocks as quickly as I could and when I looked back it was all calm with just blood on the surface. I am convinced the dolphin saved me as I would have paddled right over the shark to get into the gulley”.

Several people saw the incident take place from the beach and it seems that a large shark was responsible for the attack on the dolphin.

“I saw lots of movement and a huge shape on top of the water and then lots of blood”, said Susan Botha, one of the people who witnessed the incident. “It was all over within 20 – 30 seconds and then there was just blood on the surface and some sea gulls came to see what was happening. I cannot say what kind of shark it was, except that is was big”.

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There have been several shark incidents at Point over the years but none that have taken place recently. The first recorded shark attack in Jeffrey Bay took place when Koffie Jacobs was bumped by a shark at Supers on 7 July 1989. His surfboard was hit from below by an estimated 3 m Great White and he got tossed up into the air.

“At first I thought a dolphin must have gone mad and swam into me as we didn’t really think there were sharks in those days. I was pretty shaken and paddled in after the incident. There was a bite mark on the surfboard that needed to be repaired. It was Paul Jeggels who first said it was a shark bite and that was the end of getting that board fixed” said Jacobs.

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