A massive tiger shark, named Chessie by researchers, has moved north of her home territory near Charleston, arriving this morning off the coast of Myrtle Beach.
Chessie was first documented near Hilton Head last month, as the State reported. A satellite tag attached to her dorsal fin signals researchers every time she rises to the surface, and in the last few weeks, the tiger shark has remained near Charleston, swimming back and forth along the coast. Now, however, Chessie has broken out of that territory, turning north toward Myrtle Beach.
GOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING NORTH MYRTLE BEACH *done in my best Robin Williams voice pic.twitter.com/iVatiDzR9F
— Chessie Tiger Shark (@ChessieShark) June 10, 2015
Ocearch’s website documents that Chessie moved northward roughly a week ago, before turning back toward Charleston. On Monday (June 8), however, the shark was swimming off McClellanville, even moving into Bulls Bay and approaching shore. Several pings from her tracker showed Chessie headed out to sea later that day, paralleling the coast, as WMBF notes.
By the evening of June 9, Chessie signaled from Murrells Inlet, and at 2:01 a.m. on June 10, the shark had arrived at Myrtle Beach. Subsequent pings show that Chessie has now moved even closer to shore, and at her last signal, which was recorded at 6:41 a.m., she appeared to be swimming toward Little River and the North Carolina border.
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) May 31, 2015
Chessie is unique among tiger sharks, and represents the largest member of her species ever tagged off the East Coast. Though there are undoubtedly bigger tiger sharks in the world, Chessie is a notable specimen, measuring roughly 12 feet, two inches long, and weighing in around 1,200 pounds. Chip Michalove, a charter captain involved in tagging the tiger shark, pointed out that her head is comparable in size to a great white shark’s.
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) June 5, 2015
Like several other sharks that have been tagged by Ocearch, including Katharine and Mary Lee, Chessie has quickly developed a social media following as the public takes interest in her. As the Inquisitr previously reported, an unofficial and unverified Twitter account for Chessie now boasts over 14,000 followers. Over the last few days, the tiger shark has even playfully interacted with Jersey Shore star Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki.
Only time will tell whether Chessie continues her course northward or linger in Myrtle Beach, though local residents will no doubt be interested to know that the largest tiger shark ever tagged off the East Coast is swimming just a few hundred yards from their shoreline.
[Photo by Ocearch via Twitter]