Portsmouth family encounters great white shark

Peter Mottur and his family came face-to-face with one of the ocean's most intriguing and feared residents.

"He was literally just a foot off the boat," Mottur said.

A great white shark was snacking on a seal off the coast of Chatham last summer. The family, from Portsmouth, was fishing on its 35-foot boat.

"My daughter, from the flybridge up on the boat, spotted some commotion in the water. She said, 'I think it's a shark over there. I see a fin,'" Mottur said. "I don't think we would have seen the shark if we didn't have this height. From a distance, it's really hard to see."

When they pulled up closer, they got quite a show.

"What was amazing to me is that we were relatively close to the fish and he wasn't startled by us, and we just drifted around and he was swimming around the boat, awfully close," Mottur said.

Mottur estimated the shark was 15 feet.

"I thought it was pretty exciting to see something like that, so up close and personal. My kids, on the other hand, were probably a little startled because they had seen 'Jaws,'" Mottur said.

Video of a great white actually eating seems to be unique.

Mottur posted the video to YouTube, where it's been viewed more than 150,000 times.

"It's been pretty exciting to get that close to such a magnificent fish and to be up close and personal with it. It's been fun. It's been fun to talk about it," Mottur said.

A once-in-a-lifetime experience that still gets Mottur excited nearly a year later.

"You never know what you're going to find out there in the ocean," he said. "It's a mysterious and wild place."