Great White Shark, Mary Lee, Spotted Off Long Island Coast

Mary Lee, the great white shark whose East Coast travels have captivated social media over the last week, has bypassed New York City to make her way to Long Island, a shoreline she last visited ahead of giving birth in 2013.

The 3,456-pound, 16-foot-long white shark approached Jones Beach around 6 a.m. on Tuesday, according to ABC New York, following a day spent along the New Jersey coastline. Mary Lee spent the rest of Tuesday morning swimming a jagged, random course along the south shores of the island, last breaking the surface off Great South Bay at 10:36 a.m.

The shark has not only captivated fans through the Ocearch tracker, which allows observers to follow Mary Lee’s progress in near real time, but also through Twitter, where a tongue-in-cheek account registered to the shark has over 34,600 followers. As the New York Post reports, Mary Lee’s Twitter account regularly offers updates on her course and diet, while at times interacting with her most devoted fans.

First tagged in September, 2012, near Cape Cod, Mary Lee has since logged nearly 20,000 miles as she has traveled along the East Coast, and even into the deeper waters of the mid-Atlantic. Researchers are able to monitor Mary Lee’s position by way of a satellite tag attached to her dorsal fin — each time the shark breaks the surface, her whereabouts are relayed to Ocearch.

Although Ocearch has tagged a number of sharks over the last few years, only a handful of those animals have enjoyed the popularity that Mary Lee has. Along with Katharine, another East Coast great white, Mary Lee has not only a social media presence, but also a devoted following, who enjoy watching her every move from behind their computer screens. Over the last few weeks, that fanbase has grown as the shark’s movements brought her along the Delaware and Maryland coastlines, and into New Jersey waters.

The last time Mary Lee ventured this close to New York City, in January, 2013, she was preparing to give birth. Chris Berger, President of Ocearch, pointed out that her return to the area could mean that the shark is readying to do so once again, as the Inquisitr previously noted. Though it remains to be seen whether the shark will move on to Cape Cod next, fans will no doubt continue watching Mary Lee for any sign that Berger’s assertion could be true.

[Photo by Ryan Pierse / Getty Images]