Sharks? In Myrtle Beach?

Shelbi Ankiewicz, Editor

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Surfers hit the water year round. It could be hot and sunny or wet and rainy. It does not matter if it is 90, 70, or 50 degrees Fahrenheit; that is what wetsuits are for, right?

Three great white sharks have been found circling off the coast of the Carolinas. Their names are Gray Lady, Miss Costa and Hal. The great white, Gray Lady, is right below the Charleston coast. Hal, a 12-foot and 1420 pound great white, has been located directly off our Myrtle Beach coast.

These sharks were discovered in our waters by a non-profit organization known as OCEARCH. The program is a data-centric organization built to help scientist collect previously unattainable data in the ocean, which is one reason why they tag various species of sharks.

OCEARCH catches sharks so they can do research on live animals. They attack satellite transponders to the sharks’ dorsal fins so that their migration paths can be tracked around the planet. The tracking devices uncover data about mating, birthing and feeding patterns that have always been difficult to determine. Aside from great whites, OCEARCH also focuses on hammerhead and tiger sharks.

The non-profit was founded in 2007 and started Atlantic tagging expeditions in 2012. Since then, 33 great white sharks have been tagged in the Atlantic. OCEARCH will begin a new tagging expedition this February specifically along the coast of Myrtle Beach down to Jacksonville, Florida.

There is an app called Global Shark Tracker that allows people to track the whereabouts of these creatures. Their paths can be followed from South America all the way to New York!

A Twitter page has also been constructed so that people can interact with Miss Costa, Hal and Gray Lady. It could be something about the sharks arrival or grabbing a bite to eat with them.

So to all of you ocean-lovers out there, keep your eyes peeled. You may see a friend in the water.

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