I’ve learned that it started about 1945, when a guy named Eddie McBride used to live in a paneled truck at SanO. He lived there for many years after that, but it was about the end of WWII that he started feeding cats at SanO. He fed several generations of them, resulting in quite a colony of feral cats. The cats were quite happy to be raised mostly on fish scraps from the locals who would fillet sharks and other fish on the beach. I am told that Eddie even used to capture the cats from time to time and take them up to a vet in San Clemente for shots and any health problems.
After the nuclear plant was built, the cats took to hanging around it because of the warmth it gave off. Over time, and through generations of exposure to radiation, some shark DNA in their diet merged with the feral cat DNA to result in a species unique to San Onofre.
I had heard the story of the feline feral sharks of San Onofre, mostly from divers spear fishing at SanO. But divers are fishermen, and you know about fishermen’s tales.
I decided to do a little fishing myself on Wednesday. I paddled out on my longboard with my rod and reel and a little baggy of bait. I kept hearing a purring sound. Well, unlike those fishermen who see things but never take a picture, I had my camera with me.