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Giant great white shark Mary Lee returns to Virginia

Posted at 7:04 PM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 19:09:17-04

Twitter famous Mary Lee is back in town, so to speak. She’s known to frequent the waters off Virginia’s coast at this time of year. Yesterday she was tracked south and east of Chincoteague Island.

Weighing in at 3,456 pounds, with a length of 16-feet, she’s a mature great white shark, or Carchardodon carcharias.

Mary Lee's path since she was tagged. PHOTO: OCEARCH

Mary Lee’s path since she was tagged. PHOTO: OCEARCH

Mary Lee moves fast too, just watch her track over at OCEARCH is a nonprofit research organization that monitors the migratory patterns of sharks including great whites.

OCEARCH captures and tags the shark, and the approximate locations are posted online.

A satellite tag was attached to her dorsal fin in Cape Cod, in Sept. 2012. The tag sends coordinates of her position via satellite whenever she breaks the water’s surface.

PHOTO: Chip Michalove and Outcast Sport Fishing

PHOTO: Chip Michalove and Outcast Sport Fishing

She is named after OCEARCH expedition leader Chris Fischer’s mother.

She’s not the only great white who loves Virginia and the Outer Banks.

Katharine, a 14-foot 3,200 pound predator, has surfaced several times in North Carolina waters. Last year she was hanging out a lot just north of Rodanthe. The year before she was tracked off the Cape Fear Coast and surfaced off Pea Island and in the surf off Kitty Hawk the year before that.

Genie, the first shark tagged in the Atlantic, is a repeat visitor to the South; last year she swam into the Pamlico Sound in the Outer Banks.

In early March this year, Cpt. Chip Michalove hooked a 2,500-lb. great white. He said that was the fifth one they had hooked over the winter, and third they landed. But this was the first one whose nose he leaned over and stroked.

Greetings from the Outer Banks

Greetings from the Outer Banks

The spottings have had people vacationing in the Outer Banks using the shark personal safety cage prototype — invented by a Richmond couple. It’s called the Block Jaw, PSC  One. CBS 6 interviewed the creators of it after their spoof creation went viral on social media. 

“Here’s the thing, it’ll keep me safer from sharks than it’ll keep you safe from sharks being outside of it,” Bergman said, laughing. “That’s the way we look at it.”

In all seriousness, last year was a summer to practice safety in the ocean. There were multiple attacks along the coast at popular tourist destinations.