Katharine, one of the world’s most famous great white sharks, has taken an unexpected turn, and is following warmer waters to the northern Atlantic as she strikes out away from the eastern coastline of the United States.
The shark has captivated fans ever since she was first tagged by Ocearch off the coast of Cape Cod in August of 2013. Something of a celebrity online, Katharine enjoys a healthy following on social media (much like her fellow Ocearch shark Mary Lee), where fans watch her every move, thanks to a satellite tag affixed to her fin.
— Katharine The Shark (@Shark_Katharine) November 13, 2015
In the two years since she was first tagged, Katharine’s journey has taken her as far south as the Gulf of Mexico, and as far north as Cape Cod, as the Weather Channel recently reported. Over the last few weeks, however, the white shark has struck out in an unexpected direction, swimming away from the coast and into the deeper waters of the northern Atlantic.
Midway through October, Katharine was swimming halfway between Bermuda and the coast of Georgia, well beyond the edge of the Continental Shelf. She ventured to this same region earlier in the year, on a course that looked set to take her to Bermuda, as the Inquisitr previously reported. The shark eventually turned back before reaching the island, heading for the coastal waters that she has most often frequented over the course of the last two years.
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) November 7, 2015
Katharine’s habit of remaining in coastal waters and approaching shorelines closely is one of her defining traits. The shark spends a great deal of time at the surface, signaling researchers frequently and giving them a close look at her life. At times, however, she has shown a propensity for deeper waters, opting over the last month to abandon the shallower coastline.
By the end of October, Katharine had moved north, signaling from an area off the coast of North Carolina, yet far out to sea. She next appeared north of Bermuda, heading on an angular course away from North America. By November 9, she had moved far south of Nova Scotia (at roughly the same latitude as New Jersey). Over the last week, the shark has shown little deviation in her course, reaching a point south of Newfoundland, approaching the Grand Banks.
— Simon Thorrold (@SimonThorrold) November 10, 2015
Though Katharine hasn’t traveled to this area before while tagged, her course isn’t entirely a mystery. As one Twitter user pointed out in conversation with Ocearch, Katharine’s path corresponds with the warmer water temperatures of the Gulf Stream when the two are overlaid, demonstrating why the shark would find the region hospitable. Ocearch did note during the exchange, however, that the water temperature was somewhat warm for Katharine.
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) November 4, 2015
While Katharine has opted to head for the Grand Banks, her coastal role has been filled by Mary Lee, another famed shark tracked by Ocearch. As the Virginian Pilot reports, Mary Lee briefly returned to the coast of New York and New Jersey earlier this month, before moving south to the outer banks of North Carolina, where she last pinged. Possibly the only Ocearch shark more famous than Katharine, Mary Lee has frequented the North Carolina coast for most of this year.
Where Katharine goes from here is anyone’s guess. She is hardly the only shark to venture into deeper water carrying an Ocearch tracker, but the Grand Banks represent uncharted territory for her. For that reason alone, Katharine will likely spend the rest of this year as one of the most closely-watched great white sharks in the world.