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Hammerhead Shark Stalks Pair of Kayakers Off Palm Beach

Kayaking can be a fun, relaxing time to spend an afternoon. Except, of course, when there's a 13-foot hammerhead shark stalking you the entire way. Not as fun or relaxing. But that's what happened to a pair of kayakers off the shores of Palm Beach earlier this week.

The shark circled the men several times as they paddled through the waters and even purposely bumped into one of them during one of its runs.

According to the men, who shot a bit of video of the hammerhead, the shark circled them at least 30 times before finally taking off.

See also: Hammerhead Shark Takes Boynton Beach Man for a Two-Hour Ride

Turns out, the shark was likely interested in the men's catch of the day more than the men themselves.

Mark Naumovitz of Port St. Lucie and buddy Brian Nelli of Palm Beach Gardens had been fishing Friday and caught a 16-pound mahi. And, much like in The Old Man and the Sea, the shark smelled speared fish being lugged around on a small vessel and came over to see if he could have a bite.

As the men were paddling back to shore with their catch, Naumovitz noticed the shark and saw that it was deliberately getting closer to Nelli's kayak.

"Dude, there's a shark behind you!" he yelled out, per the Sun Sentinel.

Nelli, who runs a kayaking charter and has seen sharks plenty of times, didn't panic. He grabbed his GoPro camera and stuck it in the water to shoot the shark.

"This was about the size of our kayak, so it had to be 13 feet," Nelli told CBS12.

When asked what they must have been feeling when the shark began bumping Naumovitz's kayak, Nelli knew the shark really meant no harm.

"We figured he was more inquisitive," Nelli said. "He gave us a few bumps to check us out."

"It's not really a huge thing to see sharks," Naumovitz told WPTV. "But when you have a dorsal fin trailing you like it's Jaws, it's a different story."

"I was reminding myself there was a shark in the water and not to fall out," Nelli added.

According to the men, the shark followed them until they were about a mile from shore. At that point, it darted back into the deep and swam away.

This isn't the first time a hammerhead, which is notoriously aggressive, has had a run-in with a kayaker in South Florida. Back in March, a 14-footer dragged a man and his kayak around for several hours off the shores of Boca.

The man, who had been fishing, spotted the shark and cast his reel toward it. The shark took the bite and proceeded to tow the kayak for eight miles on a two-hour joyride.

The man eventually cut the line and paddled back to shore. He too caught most of his encounter on video.

Also in March, a couple of FAU students who went shark fishing in Boca caught themselves a monster 700-pound hammerhead, which they eventually released.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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