VIRGINIA BEACH—A routine fishing trip took an unexpected turn for Bill Pappas, who came across a chewed up dolphin floating several miles off the coast last Friday.
The day at sea started with pleasant surprise for Pappas and his friends who were greeted by playful dolphins swimming alongside their boat nearly 40 miles off of Rudee Inlet.
But a few miles away, near the Triangle wrecks, the group discovered a disturbing sight -- a dolphin with a gaping hole in its stomach.
“You could tell it was a huge chunk mean almost a basketball size chunk taken right out of the belly, and I was like whoa that's a dolphin!" recalled Pappas.
The experienced fisherman knew immediately – these were the remains of a great white shark attack.
"Right off the bat, I knew it was a shark. I've been bit by a shark, I've caught a great white shark before myself.”
Dr. Jack Musick, Professor emeritus at Virginia Institute of Marine Science agrees.
"There was no doubt that the big ragged bite was from a great white shark. You could see each individual tooth and it was really a big shark," said Musick.
Musick, who has spent decades studying sharks, says the great white was probably at least ten feet long. Great white sharks are rarely found along Virginia’s coast. Musick says the shark likely came because of warmer water temperature brought from a meandering gulf stream.
Pappas never saw the shark, but he says he was keeping an eye out for any hidden danger.
"I was just like, you know if this shark's close one of us is going to be a snack. So I kept the boat moving, we kept our eyes peeled," Pappas said.
Musick says close to two dozen types of sharks call Virginia’s coast home. But he says, you have better chance of getting struck by lightning than getting bit.