Throngs of visitors flocked to Rainbow Haven Beach, nestled in the scenic locale of Cow Bay, N.S., yet the shadow of a recent shark sighting loomed over them, pervading the atmosphere with a certain unease.
Amanda Porro, one of many beach-goers, shared, “A handful of cautionary messages filled my inbox; people advising against visiting Rainbow Haven. Despite the warnings, we decided to come here; well, not to swim, just to savor the ambiance.”
However, Stacey MacLean, another beach enthusiast suggested, “Shark sightings are common across multiple beaches; hence, there’s no reason to believe Rainbow Haven would be an exception.”
Jennifer Hood, a supervisor within the Life Guard Service of Nova Scotia for the South West Shore area, was present at the beach during the sighting, a part of the Canadian Surf Lifesaving Championship. She was the one to spot the telltale fin cutting through the waters off the beach.
Hood remembers vividly, “The creature remained visible as it swam away, only vanishing when it moved beyond our line of sight. The sighting lasted around ten minutes.”
Following protocol, Hood acted promptly and alerted the lifeguard on duty. Paul D’Eon, the director of the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service, explains, “Upon receiving the sighting alert, we usher people out of the water and shut down the beach for swimming for a span of two hours. Throughout this, we keep a vigilant eye on the site.”
D’Eon further adds that encounters with sharks are more typical around Yarmouth and St. Mary’s Bay, located along the southwestern coastline of the province. A great white shark was even captured on camera recently off the West Coast leading to Breton. Nonetheless, D’Eon assures that the supervised beaches in the province maintain high safety standards.
D’Eon states proudly, “In our 51 seasons of operation, we’ve never witnessed a shark attack on any of the beaches under our jurisdiction.”
Typically, three to four shark sightings are reported at supervised beaches each summer. Intriguingly, the sighting at Rainbow Haven was the third in the ongoing year.
Porro at this point comments, “These creatures aren’t going anywhere. If we start fearing the water hosting Canada’s Ocean Playground, well, that’s not a positive sign, is it?”
D’Eon has a simple piece of advice for anyone who suspects a shark’s presence: report it to everyone in the water, and then wait it out on the beach for a couple of hours, giving the creature ample time to swim away.