Last summer, Arthur Medici went surfing off the coastline of Cape Cod. He never made it ago alive. Together the ar shores increasingly end up being a hotbed for great white sharks, is it finally time to be fear to go in the water, because that real?

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Isaac Rocha satellite in class trying to concentrate on his schoolwork, but his mind to be somewhere else. It to be a Friday afternoon in mid-September 2018, and although the academic year had just begun, the 16-year-old Everett High institution junior and novice bodyboard surfer was already longing for the weekend. Suddenly, his mobile buzzed, and also he quietly slid it the end of his pocket, cautious not come alert his teacher. The text screen lit up.“Yo, what’s up?” the read. “What are you doing?”Rocha smiled and also quickly typed a reply: “I’m in school.”

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“Yo, let’s walk to Cape Cod. We’re gonna seize a hotel and go surfing. Walk home and also grab her stuff and be ready since I’m coming to your house.”The article came from Arthur Medici, a 26-year-old college student from Brazil who attended Rocha’s church and also had known him because that years. As soon as the last school bell rang, release students favor a pack of greyhounds in ~ the track, Rocha hopped onto his motorcycle and raced home. Simply as he to be gathering his board, wetsuit, and also a fresh collection of clothes, he heard a punch on the former door.“Come ~ above out!” Medici shouted excitedly.Moments later, the 2 friends climbed right into Medici’s black color Nissan Altima and also began the lengthy trek to the external edge the Cape Cod. Stuck in bumper-to-bumper Friday-afternoon traffic, they searched for Jack Johnson song on the radio and also caught increase on the week, chatting about work, school, and life. Medici had actually recently request Rocha’s sister, Emily, come marry him, and also Rocha to be thrilled his friend would certainly soon end up being family.The sun had actually just started to set when they pulled into a motel along route 6A in Wellfleet. After checking in, they ordered their gear and also headed for nearby Newcomb hole Beach. They had visited the site once before, however the conditions had been too choppy because that a job of wave riding. Still, they liked Newcomb Hollow due to the fact that it was reasonably deserted, other than for the occasional member that the close-knit surfing community, who had actually welcomed them through a smile. Today, the conditions were ideal, and they were excited to be back.As quickly as his boogie board touched the water, Medici placed on a present for his young friend, performing flips and 360-degree spins. Rocha was still a beginner, but he had actually a patient teacher; he watched as Medici proved him where to location his hand in order to balance himself. “You need to recognize the rhythm of the ocean,” Medici instructed. “The waves run in patterns; two little waves followed by a bigger one. Capture the big one.” castle surfed till nightfall, floating in the ocean and watching the sun, with its orange and pink hues, dip below the steep cliffs behind the beach.The following morning, Medici and also Rocha woke up early, ate a light breakfast, and also headed ago to Newcomb Hollow. As soon as they collection up your beach umbrellas, Medici skipped towards the water choose a child, kicking increase sand as he bounded right into the surf.“Yo, wait up for me!” Rocha called out.It didn’t take lengthy for Medici to catch the tide of his dreams. Staring out at the horizon, he saw a swollen of ocean rise to type a perfect wave and began paddling to its peak. Then he angled his board toward the beach and also caught the shoulder the the wave at a steep incline and rode it all the way to shore before disappearing in the crashing foam. Exhilarated, that paddled earlier toward Rocha. “That was the finest of my life,” Medici said, as once again the two friends sat on your boards a few yards personal and absorbed the sounds of tide tumbling to shore. “This is the life I desire to live,” Medici sighed. “This is the life ns love. This is what I want to execute forever.”Neither Medici nor Rocha, however, knew what lurked beneath the surface of the ocean. Number of weeks earlier, a 61-year-old neurologist native Scarsdale, new York, called William Lytton was swim 10 feet off the coastline of surrounding Truro when he feeling a good white shark chomp down on his leg. The shrieked in pain together dozens the razor-sharp teeth tore with the tendons in his thigh. Instinctively, Lytton fought back, to mark the predator in the gills and then writhing free. A helicopter quickly airlifted him to Tufts Medical center in Boston, where he place in a coma for two days while operated doctor performed half a dozen operations and also pumped 12 pints that blood into his body—saving his life. Lytton’s story of survive made national news, including cite of the increasing number of great white sightings turn off the Cape in recent years. Surprisingly, Medici and Rocha never ever heard about the attack, unaware that the hazard below.The revival of an excellent white sharks is forcing areas to wrestle with how these wild creatures could readjust the Cape forever.Lytton’s was far from the first close encounter between human and shark turn off the coast of Cape cod in recent years. In 2014, because that instance, a good white assaulted a pair of female kayakers turn off Plymouth, biting into one of your boats and also knocking both women right into the water. In 2017, a shark bit right into a paddleboard turn off Marconi coast in Wellfleet. In both cases, the civilization were traumatized however unharmed.For the previous decade, the Massachusetts department of naval Fisheries (DMF) has actually been examining the migration of an excellent white sharks come the region. Their stark conclusion: The scariest fish in the world has went back to Cape Cod. Therefore far, researchers have tagged 151 great whites, most of them from Provincetown come Wellfleet, but have spotted more than twin that number, at the very least 320 predators, on the external Cape and in the inner component of Cape ko Bay. “This is component of their historical migration that’s most likely been going on for millions of years,” claims Greg Skomal, a shark biologist because that the DMF. “They are attracted to the visibility of gray seals, whose numbers are now on the rebound after ~ we virtually wiped castle out and kept their population down with bounty equipment where these pets were killed.”Instead that downplaying the ever-growing presence of an excellent whites, though, many local businesses have taken on it. From Chatham, the elbow of Cape Cod, to the peninsula’s fist in Provincetown, new shops sell T-shirts, towels, and hats with assorted menacing shark designs to excite hungry shoppers, plenty of looking for their own piece the the phenomenon to take it home. In 2015, the Chatham merchants Association started running its famous outdoor arts exhibit “Sharks in the Park,” where artists use shark cutouts for your canvases and also designs. The adjacent Chatham Orpheum Theater, meanwhile, has traditionally presented Jaws top top the big screen during Fourth the July week; the event has come to be the Cape’s variation of the Rocky Horror photo Show, through audience members shouting dialogue ago at the screen and also crushing can be ~ of Narragansett beer in addition to Quint, captain that the ill-fated shark-hunting watercraft Orca.At the very same time, the resurgence of an excellent white sharks is also forcing areas to wrestle with how these wild creatures could adjust the Cape forever. Tourism, the local economy, and residents’ connection with mother Nature every hang in the balance. How, ~ all, carry out idyllic summer towns along unspoiled beaches attend to the specter that violence in their midst?Much prefer the townspeople of the fictional Amity, the Cape neighborhood is divided over what to do. In 2017 Barnstable ar Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr., who fancies himself something of a real-life legislative variation of Quint, publicly called for the all-out devastation of an excellent whites turn off Cape ko after see blood-curdling video of a shark feeding top top a seal. Originally, Beaty propose what he dubbed a “shark hazard mitigation strategy,” in which baited north lines through hooks would certainly be inserted near well-known Outer Cape beaches in an initiative to catch great whites prior to they got to swimmers. If the hook wasn’t sufficient to kill a shark, Beaty suggested officials must shoot that dead.Sharks, however, room not Beaty’s only enemy. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy opposes his ideas, suggesting for less-drastic and less-violent measures to keep civilization safe. Stressing the require for awareness over all else, the group launched a “Sharktivity” phone app in 2016 that offers updated information around sightings near well-known beaches, and advocates for boosted signage and also even beach closures, despite the an adverse effect on regional merchants.Information and understanding room surely key, yet even the many experienced swimmers and divers room nervous around the recent uptick of great white sharks. Traveler Barry Clifford, who gained global acclaim for his exploration of the 18th-century pirate ship the Whydah in the waters turn off Wellfleet in 1984, approximates that he is spent fifty percent of his life under water. “It’s one thing being ~ above the s floor whereby sharks can’t gain under you,” that says, however “it’s another thing to be splashing about on the surface, especially in shallow water wherein sharks confused you for a seal. Best now, ns would never dream of swim off the Cape or permit my kids or grandchildren to swim there.”