Hammerheads, tourists mingle

Wild Dunes resort on the Isle of Palms, vacationers cross between the beach and a sandbar with caution, eyeing one of several hammerhead sharks that has been seen in the area in the past week.

ISLE OF PALMS — In scenes more reminiscent of "Finding Nemo" than of "Jaws," vacationers at the Wild Dunes resort have been sharing the water with some non-paying guests: sharks.

Over the past week, several beachgoers say they've seen hammerhead sharks, ranging from 2 to 4 feet in length, often traveling in schools of three or four. North Augusta native Pam Tabor, who brought her family to the resort, recalls her first shark run-in near the resort's Beach Club Villa condominiums on Saturday.

"I'm about knee-deep, the water's feeling good, and I look over and there is a shark as long as my leg, and probably it's six inches wide," Tabor said. "I could have reached down and touched it, but I instead squealed and ran away."

Jake Leysath, 12, of Sacramento, Calif., was crossing to a sandbar with his mother when he encountered a shark.

"A shark about 4 feet swam right by me," Jake said. "Its fin barely touched my ankle, so it was kind of cool."

Ken Roper, 57, of Windsor, Col., said he could identify the sharks as hammerheads because of his diving experience. He described them as "pretty docile" and said nobody seemed to be in danger.