Massive Tiger Shark ‘Chessie’ Enters Cape Fear River

Chessie, the massive tiger shark tagged by Ocearch off the South Carolina coast, has signaled from the mouth of the Cape Fear River as she continues her voyage northward.

Though the shark spends much of its time near Charleston, over the last week Chessie has been swimming north along the coast. Earlier this week, the shark “pinged” just off Myrtle Beach, as the Inquisitr previously reported, yet it appears that she hardly lingered in the area. Chessie’s last signal in South Carolina took place at 6:41 a.m. on June 10, after which she failed to surface for much of the next day.

Who says Sharks can’t walk on land? Hello North Carolina!!!!!

— Chessie Tiger Shark (@ChessieShark) June 11, 2015

At 3:25 a.m. on June 11, Chessie appeared once again on Ocearch’s website, having traveled further up the coast and into North Carolina waters. Surprisingly, Chessie had passed Bald Head Island, entering the Cape Fear River. The tiger shark’s signal came from an area North of Zeke’s Island, near Fort Fisher, as the Star News Online reports. Ironically, the tiger shark was just a short distance from the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

The Cape Fear River is unique, and due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, is divided into both fresh water and salt water sections. Local anglers take advantage of this fact in order to catch a wide variety of fish, and it is likely the reason that Chessie can even enter the river. Tiger sharks are not known to tolerate fresh water exceptionally well, and rarely enter those bodies. Bull sharks, by contrast, can swim easily between both fresh and salt water, having developed specialized ways of managing their salinity. In general, the Cape Fear River is considered to be highly saline anywhere south of Wilmington.

First tagged off Hilton Head last month, Chessie immediately attracted attention due to her size. A large tiger shark, she measures 12 feet, two inches, weighing roughly 1,200 pounds. Researchers affiliated with Ocearch tagged the shark, and she revealed a distinct territory around Charleston, before setting off northward. Like many other Ocearch sharks, Chessie has also gained a loyal following, and a Twitter account under her name boasts over 14,000 followers, as WMBF reports.

While it remains to be seen if the tiger shark will linger in the Cape Fear River, Chessie will almost certainly remain south of Wilmington, due to the unique conditions of the river.

[Photo by Ocearch via Twitter]