An attempt by Australian open-water swimmer Simon Dominguez to brave the cold waters between the Golden Gate and the Farallon Islands was interrupted on Wednesday after a great white shark was sighted, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Dominguez had been training for the 30-mile swim with Kim Chambers, a Bay Area resident from New Zealand, who still plans to do the swim between August 8 and August 10, according to NBC. Although four swimmers have made the distance starting from the Farallon Islands, Dominguez would have been the first in history to perform the feat in the opposite direction—starting from the Golden Gate Bridge—and Chambers would be the first woman to swim the distance, which is greater than the English Channel.
After donning only a swimsuit and cap on Tuesday night, Dominguez swam at an even pace for 18 hours, occasionally snacking on homemade protein shakes, which his wife and daughter threw to him from the side of a boat. He was within four miles of the Farallones when a great white shark moved into his daughter’s field of vision, prompting the boat’s skipper to stop the swim.
“Apparently it was swimming around me, and then it started moving straight toward me, and that’s when I thought it was probably a good idea to get out of the water,” Dominguez told KPIX-TV. “It was hard in that I really wanted to finish the swim, but a shark’s a shark.”
The close encounter shouldn’t have been surprising. As Outside reported in January, the Farallon Islands were an ideal place to observe great whites for OCEARCH founder Chris Fischer, who chose the site to shoot an episode of Shark Men for the National Geographic Channel.