She likes us. She really likes us.
Mary Lee the great white shark — nearly two-tons of grace and beauty — came back our way again, surfacing 100 or so yards from shore adjacent to the point at which 74th Avenue North meets the ocean in Myrtle Beach on Dec. 18.
She’s visited us several times since being tagged in Cape Cod by OCEARCH, a wonderful non-profit research and conservation organization that’s following her via satellite.
I was awestruck as I stood on the beach early this morning, looking out over the grayish, glassy ocean, wondering if she were near.
I know. I’m obsessed with Mary Lee. This is my fourth straight blog about her. I promise to quit writing about the magnificent marvel of nature for awhile. Well, if she were to mistake a surfer for a seal, I’d have to give it a mention (that’s sarcasm, I would never hope for such a terrible thing).
It’s not going to happen. Humans are more likely to be trampled to death by pigs than they are of being killed by a shark. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, an elderly Oregon farmer was eaten by his own hogs several months back. They found the poor man’s dentures in the sty. That’s all they found.
Sand sharks prefer fish. Smaller sharks also like sushi. Seals and sea lions are tops on the great white menu. Tiger sharks dig sea turtles, but they’re like me — they’ll eat nearly anything.
For the record, Genie, the other great white that I’ve written about, is still submerged somewhere out there. She hasn’t been “pinged” since Dec. 9 — in the waters off Savannah.
Man, I’m already getting withdrawal shakes, just thinking about the idea of not documenting Mary Lee’s every move. I’ve grown very fond of her — thanks to OCEARCH.
It helps me, though, to realize that sharks are always out there. I see them in the surf more often than the average tourist would like to know. My brother and I were once standing waist deep in the water when a fairly large shark swam straight at us. It was too late to hightail it, so we stood still. The shark got within 15 feet, saw us, used it’s cartilage body to full advantage, did a 90-degree turn and bolted for greater depths. It looked like a blacktip shark, but I can’t say for sure. I was focusing on its path, not its dorsal fin.
Ten years ago I stood with friends on Springmaid pier and watched as a seven or eight-foot shark swam along a cresting wave toward a woman holding her child. Thankfully, she had no idea the awesome creature was so close to her. My friends suggested warning her. I told them not to. The worst thing the woman could have done is splash about. The shark saw her and the kid, turned around and swam away.
In closing, I offer you, my friends, two pictures of our girl that I’ve previously used and a graph of her location. Enjoy.