Katharine, the great white shark that captivated the internet when she toured the Atlantic coast last winter, has left the waters off Cape Cod, finding her way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in just over a week.
A 14-foot-long white shark, Katharine was tagged by Ocearch researchers off Cape Cod in 2013. After traveling south along the United States’ Eastern Seaboard, the shark entered the Gulf of Mexico last summer, before reversing course and returning to the cape. As Space Coast Daily observes, Katharine remained in the area late into the season this year, prompting speculation that she may be wintering off Nantucket.
All that changed late in December, however, when Katharine’s tag signaled that she had begun to move south once more. As the Inquisitr recently reported, the shark passed over the edge of the continental shelf, moving into deeper water as she embarked on a dramatic, seemingly single-minded course.
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) January 10, 2015
By the morning of January 9, Katharine found herself over the continental shelf once more, just east of Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. When her fin next broke the surface, mere hours later, the great white had moved into Pamlico Sound, according to Ocearch. Katharine appears to have lingered in the sound for a day, and was detected on the morning of January 10 at the mouth of the Pamlico River, near the Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge.
— Surfline Forecast (@SLForecast) January 10, 2015
Katharine’s foray into the Pamlico Sound is somewhat surprising, if not unprecedented. Last year, another shark tagged by Ocearch, Mary Lee, ventured deep into South Carolina’s St. Helena Sound, according to Grind TV. While it would not be unusual for a bull shark to approach the brackish area at a river’s mouth where fresh and salt water mix, researchers were startled to see a great white exhibit the same behavior. Tagged off Cape Cod, much like Katharine, Mary lee has exhibited a similar coastal pattern, despite an extended foray into the deep Atlantic, near Bermuda.
As she moves South, Katharine is likely to pass into the domain of Mary Lee, who has spent the last year largely off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Signaling most recently from a point off Hilton Head, Mary Lee breaks the surface far less than Katharine. According to Ocearch’s Chris Fischer, that trait makes Katharine unique.
“Katharine stands out because she constantly comes up finning, which means she likes to spend a lot of time on or near the surface. She is so coastal, almost living on the beaches, as well. It makes her somewhat of a media darling as she passes by. At the same time, she is giving us the most comprehensive look at her life.”
When last detected, Katharine appeared to have left Pamlico Sound, as the white shark signaled from a point just off Hatteras Island.
[Image: R. Snow/ Ocearch via TCPalm]