Mary Lee is WHAT???

BroJoe sent me the first headline a couple of years ago, something about Mary Lee hanging around the Outer Banks.  Huh?  Since then, I’ve received a stream of fun headlines from friends.  I prefer the ones that refer to “rock star Mary Lee” instead of words like “massive” and other references to weight.

Mary Lee prowls East Coast

Mary Lee Has Come For a Visit

Great White Mary Lee passing by Charleston coast again

Great White Mary Lee Moves Back North

Mary Lee is back in North Carolina

Mary Lee checking out St Helena sound

You do know Mary Lee, right?  Rock star?  Also a Great White Shark.

This one was left at my front door a few weeks ago:


Tagging a Great White Shark was a big deal.  The SPOT  (Smart Position and Temperature) tag attached to her dorsal fin sends data to the nearest satellite and it is passed on to the research team.  When she was tagged, she was christened (so to speak) Mary Lee, after Ocearch scientist Chris Fischer’s mother.  Still, I feel a connection.  Other sharks will always be asking her, “. . . now,  is Lee your middle name or your last name?”

The SPOT gives location, water temperature (GWS like waters around 50-70 degrees) and water salinity.  Usually they stay in salt water, but Mary Lee entered brackish waters around Cape Cod.  That’s close!  She has also pinged within 200 yards of the Carolinas coastal areas.  Mary Lee prefers her summers around the Cape, winters farther down the Atlantic coast.

A crew of Ocearch marine biologists followed her when she headed down to Jacksonville, Florida, where she began swimming with a smaller, Great White Shark there.  That’s how the crew discovered Lydia, who was then tagged and released.

Mary Lee has her own Pinterest and Facebook sites.  Google her and you’ll find over 1,000,000 links.  See?  Rock star!  

Here’s a video of how she was tagged:

With the crazy, cold winter we’ve had, I worried that she had checked out for South American or Africa, so I was pleased to learn that she was in the Savannah area.   Mary Lee may prefer the Atlantic coast,  but her more adventuresome friend, Lydia, headed out to sea.
A couple of days ago, my blogging/Facebook Irish friend Steffi Walsh posted a Look Who’s Here blurb announcing that Lydia was nearing the waters around Ireland.  Amazing!   I e-mailed to ask Steffi to tell Lydia that Mary Lee said Hey.  She refused.
I’ve read many fascinating facts about great white sharks, like their favorite foods:  sea lions and seals.  One article speculated that if they attack a human, it’s because they’ve mistaken the human for a seal.  Over 70% of humans attacked by a great white survived  because, it is believed, that they realize their mistake and let go.  Hmmm.
(See, Steff, you could do it!  Just try not to look like a seal.)
A good meal can last these sharks up to three months.
Recent articles about Mary Lee say that she may be pregnant. Yowsah!  Gestation period is 11-18 months, so it’s an educated guess  right now.  If it’s true, Fischer’s mother will be pleased.

 “Mary Lee is a sweet, sweet woman. This is a sweet, sweet shark,” Fischer said. “Now she keeps asking if it’s pregnant, saying ‘I want grand-sharks!’”

Lydia, who has been tracked for more than 20,000 miles, is also rumored to be pregnant. She could continue to swim toward Ireland or she may turn toward the Mediterranean.  There is a favorite shark birthing spot near Turkey.

Both of them pregnant?  That must have been one heck of a Spring Break in Jacksonville!


Sharks are as tough as those football fans who take their shirts off during games in Chicago in January, only more intelligent. – Dave Barry


7 thoughts on “Mary Lee is WHAT???

  1. Yep. They’re amazing. The longest tracking of a Great White before Lydia was about 12,000 miles. She’s already done over 20,000 miles. People trade cars with less mileage than that!

  2. Wow… this was fascinating to read, Mary Lee. I had no idea great whites migrated so far. How fun to have one share your name….go Mary Lee! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s