As Sue Fontaine and her husband leisurely cruised up the Maine coast Sunday morning, she was targeted on taking scenic lighthouse photographs, not documenting a bloody meal at sea.
However then the sudden popped into the body — a seal in misery. It was being hunted by an important white shark.
“I used to be already capturing and noticed the seal. We began towards it and noticed the shark fin. We backed off and simply took footage,” Fontaine, 68, stated. “It was tough to witness. All I might do was to take pictures and pray that it was throughout rapidly, however it was not over practically rapidly sufficient, for both the seal or myself.”
Sue and Pete Fontaine, accompanied by their 16-pound canine, Quick Squeeze, have been riveted because the life-and-death wrestle performed out within the water off Whitehead Island in St. George, on the western fringe of Penobscot Bay. The collection of 80 photographs she snapped give an unusually close-up view of a shark consuming a seal. They’ve been shared greater than a thousand occasions on Fb and attracted consideration from the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and different media shops.
A retired instructor who spends the summers in an RV in Trenton, Sue Fontaine figured that she was simply in the proper place on the proper time — or possibly the mistaken time — to witness one thing extraordinary. The couple had spent Saturday night time on the Damariscotta River of their 22-foot cabin cruiser. They have been on their approach again to Trenton when the assault occurred.
“It appeared to final endlessly, however it was just below six minutes,” she stated. “I simply shot and shot. We have been completely amazed at what was occurring.”
It’s laborious to not learn emotion into the photographs, a few of that are pretty graphic. Sue Fontaine known as one picture, which confirmed the seal attempting to get away, “heartbreaking.”
“The seal, in my thoughts, was clearly wanting proper at me and asking for assist,” she stated. “It was a really insightful realization. We had an consciousness of the soul within the animal. They do wish to reside.”
Nonetheless, Sue Fontaine, who described herself as principally a vegan, stated she understands that nature isn’t all the time fairly.
“It’s the circle of life and dying,” she stated.
A couple of nights earlier than, the couple had been on their boat once they heard an animal they thought was a seal hunt and kill a seabird.
“The screams from the hen … it was like, ‘wow, man, that is nature. That is unbelievable,’” she stated. “And some days later, we have been watching the seal get his.”
The Fontaines, who spend quite a lot of time on the ocean, have all the time identified that predatory fish are lively off the Maine coast.
“We used to exit mackerel fishing on a regular basis, and we’d pull in a bluefish or a striper that was bit in half,” she stated. “You already know that one thing larger is down there.”
In recent times, Mainers have been placed on discover that nice white sharks are right here. A girl was killed in a shark assault off Bailey Island in Harpswell in July 2020, a tragedy that shocked the state. Only a few weeks in the past, a 12-foot nice white shark was seen attacking a seal close to Potts Level in Harpswell. That seal survived, in line with studies.
Over the previous week, scientists have been monitoring an important white shark in Casco Bay.
Fontaine stated that witnessing the assault on the seal has modified the best way she feels about some once-loved actions, like sea kayaking and ocean swimming.
“I couldn’t watch for the water to get heat sufficient to swim off the again of my boat. However that’s not occurring,” she stated.
On Wednesday, she and her husband spent a pleasing day at Acadia Nationwide Park, biking the carriage roads and climbing up Sargent Mountain.
Then, they needed to chill off — however determined to provide Sand Seashore a miss.
“We took a swim within the lake,” she stated. “The entire time I used to be swimming within the lake, I by no means gave the shark a thought.”