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Martha’s Vineyard woman recounts close encounter with shark while walking her dog on island

<i>WCVB</i><br/>Amanda Borland
Amanda Borland

By WCVB Staff

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    TISBURY, Massachusetts (WCVB) — A woman who lives on Martha’s Vineyard is sharing details about her close encounter with a shark, the first for the 23-year resident of the Massachusetts island.

Amanda Borland and her dog, Hamish, were out for their daily walk in Vineyard Haven on Friday when they decided to stop by a sandy strip near the end of the Lagoon Pond drawbridge to play fetch.

Borland, who is also known as “Scotty” to locals, was picking through sea glass when she saw the shark, a porbeagle, swimming close to shore.

“When I took a step back and the shark kind of swam off, I thought he was swimming off for good. But then he turned around and that’s when he came right up,” Borland said.

All of a sudden, Borland said she and Hamish were practically face to face with the shark.

“I just wasn’t expecting it, and he actually came right up as if he was going to come up on the shore,” she said. “I almost think that he thought, maybe, my dog was a seal.”

Borland said the shark eventually left Hamish and her alone, but they were left stunned by the encounter, which she captured on video.

“Once we stepped back out of the water, I had never seen my dog have a look of shock in his face, and the look of shock in his face was, I imagine, what the look of shock was in my face. I don’t think he could believe it,” Borland said.

Dr. Greg Skomal, a shark biologist at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, said the porbeagle shark in Borland’s video may be suffering a bacterial infection in its brain. Sharks with that illness oftentimes get disoriented in the water and end up beaching themselves.

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