Sharks of the San Juans

Ever wonder what kind of sharks we have in our waters?

Now is the time to find out.

On Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. Gene Helfman will give a free public lecture entitled “Sharks of the San Juans Islands” for the Orcas Island Marine Lecture Series’ Family Night.

Dr. Helfman is a fulltime resident of Lopez Island, having retired after 30 years on the faculty at the University of Georgia. YMCA Camp Orkila will host a free dinner at the Larry Norman Lodge and their staff will provide shark-related children’s educational activities.

“We may not have great whites but we have some pretty cool species like the six-gill shark,” says SeaDoc scientist Joe Gaydos.

This species typically inhabits depths greater than 300 feet, and has been recorded as deep as 6,150 feet, although they do come to shallower depths to feed. These are long-lived sharks. Female six-gills don’t even reach sexual maturity until they are 18 to 35 years old. Pregnancy is no small deal. Their gestation period is unknown but scientists believe that it is longer than two years. Females give birth to 22 to 108 pups.

Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and the talk begins at 7 p.m. at the Camp Orkila Larry Norman Lodge. Both dinner and the lecture are free. Park in the upper parking lot at Camp Orkila. Shuttle service from the parking lot to the talk is available before and after the lecture.