WHALES BEAT UP ON SHARK
Two 30 foot whales beat up on a 15 foot shark at Aliso Beach as viewed by lifeguards according to The Hattiesburg American Newspaper Article on March 25, 1951. The battle was said to have resulted in the shark beached on the sand with a pool of blood. The exchange left a section of the shore water red and the war of attrition apparently went back out into deeper waters until all combatants were not seen again.
While the shark was not identified, I think it is reasonable to assume that it was a Great White Shark based on the size reported. The two 30 foot whales I would presume to be Grey Whales that pass through Aliso Beach and the Laguna Coastline each year to and from the Arctic feeding grounds to the north and the nurseries in the lagoons of Baja Sur, Mexico. Grey Whales with calves typically are the last to leave the lagoons for the Arctic feeding grounds making sure that there babies are strong enough to make the journey. That happens in late March and early April. They are said to hug the coast to fend off attacks from predators such as Orcas and Great White Sharks. This battle was probably over a Great White trying to ambush a Grey Whale Calf.
The last several years there have been many Grey Whale sightings from the shores of Aliso Beach. This historical battle proves that in the marine ecosystem of the Laguna area, Great White Sharks and Grey Whales mix it up in a battle to prey on calves and preserve life. Given that the Grey Whales continue to hug the coast with their young as they return to the cooler waters of the north, it is safe to say that momma whales understand the dangers and take paths that give their young the greatest chance of survival. It is also safe to say that Great White Sharks are a part of Laguna’s healthy marine ecosystem that includes the near shore waters of Aliso Beach. I suspect that this isn’t the only time that whales beat up on a shark at Aliso Beach and that a certain percentage of the time, the Great White has a successful attack on a baby Grey Whale much to the sadness of the mother who then must fight through the grief of losing her young and returning to the Arctic feeding grounds.