AIC student featured on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week


Ryan LaFrance, Staff Writer

An AIC student captured on video a thrilling shark attack off the shores of Cape Cod, and received quite a bit of attention after she posted it on social media. Ariana Martel captured the chilling moment on her phone of a shark attacking a seal on August 18, 2018 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. A year later during the summer of 2019, her viral video appeared on Shark Week.

Martel was on her annual vacation and was enjoying a day at Race Point Beach on the tip of Cape Cod. She just so happened to have her phone ready to capture the spectacle. Not far offshore was a large 16-foot great white shark that bystanders witnessed attack a seal.

Martel told a reporter, “When I’m at Race Point Beach, I usually only take out my phone for pictures because there’s barely any service. I was taking out my phone to take pictures with my best friend when all of a sudden I heard my stepdad say, ‘Did you see that?’… My first instinct was to record just in case it was a shark.” She added, “The initial attack was rather fast, but the sighting lasted a long time.”

After getting back from the beach, Martel posted her two videos on Instagram and Twitter. Very quickly, her videos were sought out by news reporters. She says, “I started getting direct messages on twitter from news stations all over the world asking for permission to share my videos on all of their platforms. I gave permission to mostly all news platforms that contacted me.”

At the time, the Cape Cod area seemed to have a spike in shark encounters. Just one day before Martel’s video captured footage of a great white, a man was bitten and hospitalized in Truro, a neighboring town on the Cape just south of Provincetown. Martel said she didn’t know about the man that was attacked. She said the shark did not cause any fear or give her any reason to stay out of the water because she’s always known they were there.

Martel, who has had a fascination with the ocean and sharks her whole life, said, “No, this did not ruin my vacation at all; it made it a hundred times better.”

Others from the AIC community seem to have a similar view on sharks, including student Eliza Mullin. When asked if a seeing a shark would ruin her vacation, Mullin replied, “As long as I’m not in the water with it, then it’d absolutely make my vacation great.”

Many people seem to be intrigued with the mysteries of the deep ocean, and especially with sharks. Perhaps that is the reason why Discovery Channel’s Shark Week series has become so popular. Shark Week has been shown thirty-one times since first airing in 1988.

In 2018, Shark Week had 34.9 million viewers and the Discovery Channel was ranked number one for prime time. In 2019, Shark Week aired from Sunday, July 28 to Sunday, August 4, and featured Martel’s video. Martel said she almost signed the rights to her video to a reporter for a small segment on Shark Week. She decided against it because she already gave permission to a number of news stations and had a suspicion that her video would be shown no matter what. It turns out she was right.

When she saw her video on Shark Week, Martel was ecstatic. She said, “I appeared on Shark Week on July 29th, 2019. I’ve always watched Shark Week every year and it shocked me when I heard my own voice screaming, ‘Out of the water!’ Following my voice, my video appeared on the screen, it was a dream come true.”