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El Capitán, Refugio, Gaviota Beaches Reopened Early After Shark Encounter

Kayakers report brush with possible great white shark; water reopened to public at noon Monday

Beaches at three state parks along the Gaviota coast were reopened Monday, two days after a shark encounter involving two kayakers led to them being closed, according to the California State Parks Department.

The closures — involving El Capitán, Refugio and Gaviota state beaches — barred people from entering the water, said Vicky Waters, the agency’s deputy director for public affairs.

The original posting indicated the water would be closed for 72 hours, but that was shortened, Waters said.

“Our folks did a re-assessment of the area this morning, and the water recreation closure was lifted at noon today (Monday),” Waters said.

Two kayakers reported seeing the shark — believed to be a great white — in the water near Tajiguas, north of Refugio State Beach, on Saturday, Waters said.

The shark reportedly lifted one of the kayaks, but it did not overturn. The men returned to shore and alerted authorities to what had happened.

“Our protocol is to shut down the water at the beaches in these situations,” Waters said.

While visitors are prevented from going into the ocean, the parks and beaches themselves remain open, she said.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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