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The Shark that Consumed Woods Hole

There's never a dull moment in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Like the pinch in an hourglass, this seaside town is a brief confluence of human tides, where most people pass through to points beyond. Spicy locals, cosmopolitans, academics, artisans and business folk all rub shoulders in a village whose main street can be traveled in "about" 53 seconds, according to Google.

Still, late summer 2004 was a particularly exciting time to be Woodsholian. Forced to choose between a limpet and a weasel shark for president, nails chewed to stubs as the Red Sox crested an August wave, the last thing anyone needed was more strain on the heart.

But even the gentlest of great white sharks inspires little calm, especially materializing as she did from the depths of an idyllic, tree-lined swimming hole. Though she managed to escape the public eye at first with the help of a few tightlipped residents, secrets don't keep well in the salty air of Woods Hole.

Soon, all eyes turned to the immense dorsal and tail fins (some folks thought it was two sharks!) slicing incongruously past poison ivy and blackberry bushes crowding the water's edge.

"The Shark that Consumed Woods Hole" examines the splash this mysterious visitor made, as adventure seekers, fishermen, businesses, the media, and even state government all focused their attentions on a single animal, making her the big fish in one small pond. The one that got away had come back. And as days turned into weeks, it became apparent she was in no hurry to leave.

Was it all the attention?

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