LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A pair of men from San Diego got more than they bargained for this past weekend during a trip to Catalina Island.
Danny McDaniel and John Chambers were midway through their dive trip when they decided to fill some downtime Saturday afternoon by renting kayaks.
“It was a beautiful, gorgeous day,” McDaniel said.
The duo paddled east toward Ship Rock, a popular dive spot about two miles away. With about 150 yards to go, McDaniel said he felt something hitting his kayak.
“It pushed my kayak to the side, and I thought John was messing with me,” McDaniel said.
But it wasn’t Chambers, who was in his kayak about six feet away.
“Him and the kayak moved drastically, and then continued to move,” Chambers said.
It was then that both men saw what was doing the pushing. McDaniel saw the head of a great white shark — roughly 19 feet long — clamped down on the kayak just inches away.
“There was a conical-shaped head right there, and a giant, a massive body,” McDaniel said. “I completely froze, and I had my ore up. The primary thought, on top of everything else, was just don’t fall into the water.”
The pair kept their paddles out of the water and held their breath until the shark let go and went back under water. Once on shore, the men found puncture marks, scratches and two shark teeth in the kayak.
“I don’t think he took a full chomp, just a little nibble,” McDaniel said. “I’m grateful that I didn’t get injured, it just wasn’t my time I suppose.”
Despite the close encounter, McDaniel and Chambers continued with their plan to scuba dive later that evening.