SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Several great white sharks surrounded a marine biologist sitting in a kayak off the coast of Santa Cruz, and he has the photos to prove it.

Giancarlo Thomae has been monitoring the group of sharks this last week, and when they came close to shore, he paddled out.

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Thomae says the eight-foot sharks swam right up to him, and even underneath the kayak, shark fins surrounding him in the water.

“That’s a juvenile white shark, oh! right under my kayak,” Thomae said.

Last week he photographed the sharks from a helicopter.

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“Every time I go out in the ocean its full of surprises, but I never knew I would get this gift of an encounter,” Thomae said.  “I decided to paddle down to the cement ship with my camera and see if I could get any photos and video. I had one dive within a foot of my kayak and I had a couple swim under my kayak. I’ve had pretty much every experience you can imagine, but this is definitely different. Its special.”

He and the pilot counted more than a dozen on that trip.

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

Images of an estimated 15 great white sharks were captured near Aptos on June 25th. (Photo: Giancarlo Thomae Photography)

He says they were most likely feeding off shore and came into shallow waters to warm up.

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