A 14-Foot Great White Shark Named Katharine Spent the Weekend Circling Miami Beach
After a few days of torrential rain, waterspouts, and tornado warnings to end last week, this weekend brought glorious sunshine and cool ocean breezes -- meaning half of Dade County spent Saturday and Sunday wading in the Atlantic Ocean or enjoying Biscayne Bay.
photo by sharkdiver.com via Wikimedia Commons
They weren't alone out there. (Cue ominous music.) A 14-foot great white shark named Katharine spent Saturday cruising off the coast of Miami Beach and on Sunday came within spitting distance of boater favorite Elliott Key in Biscayne National Park.
Great whites aren't totally uncommon off the coast of the Sunshine State. In the early part of the year, the predators pursue right whales as they migrate from the North Atlantic toward Florida, USA Today reports.
What is unusual is that Floridians can pinpoint the location of Katharine as she swims southward thanks to a satellite tracker implanted on her dorsal fin. The shark was tagged last August 19 off the coast of Cape Cod by a research group called Ocearch.
The tracker shows Katharine's movements on a GPS map on Ocearch's homepage. And this weekend, Katharine decided to enjoy the sights on SoBe:
The path shows the shark spent Friday night cruising south from Hollywood and early Saturday morning heading along Miami Beach's coastline. By Saturday evening, she'd reached the sea off Coral Gables, and early Sunday morning she headed farther west, swimming close to several islands in Biscayne National Park.
via Ocearch Katharine's path down the Dade County coastline this weekend.
Katharine is now headed back toward deeper waters as she swims south along the Florida Keys.
The satellite feed helps researchers learn more about the feeding and migratory patterns of sharks such as Katharine.
"She's in her prime," Ocearch founder Chris Fischer tells USA Today. "She's probably in her late teens, early 20s. We don't know whether she's sexually mature or not. It'll be really interesting to see if Katharine returns to Cape Cod later this summer. If she does, then she probably didn't get pregnant. If she does not return to Cape Cod by July, then she's likely pregnant."