Environment

Great white shark named Miss May tweets ‘hello’ after being spotted off SC coast

OCEARCH tags great white shark ‘Miss May’

OCEARCH researchers tag great white shark "Miss May" on Feb. 15, 2019, near Fernandina Beach, Florida. She is named after nearby Mayport, FL , which will soon be the future home of a joint Jacksonville University and OCEARCH facility.
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OCEARCH researchers tag great white shark "Miss May" on Feb. 15, 2019, near Fernandina Beach, Florida. She is named after nearby Mayport, FL , which will soon be the future home of a joint Jacksonville University and OCEARCH facility.

Like many others, Miss May is heading north for the summer.

Although she has a dedicated Twitter feed, Miss May is not a person. She is a great white shark being tracked by Ocearch, a marine research group.

The group’s data show that the 10-foot-2 shark was located off the South Carolina coast Monday.

Miss May pinged “just north of Charleston,” Ocearch tweeted. That marks the furthest north the shark has traveled since she was tagged on Feb. 15 near Fernandina Beach, Florida, according to the group’s website.

“Hello, Charleston! I’m enjoying making my way up north! Any guesses where I will end up?” a tweet said.

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Great white “Miss May” about to be released after being examined and tagged by OCEARCH researchers on Feb. 15, 2019. Robert Snow / OCEARCH Robert Snow

In the course of 103 days, Miss May has covered 2,112 miles swimming in the Atlantic Ocean before making her first appearance off South Carolina, Ocearch reported.

Ever wondered what it's like to get up close and personal with a great white shark? This video of Chip Michalove tagging a great white shark off Hilton Head Island in January 2017 will take you there.

A look at the @MissMay_Shark Twitter feed shows her migration, first toward Daytona Beach before turning north with her being tracked near Jacksonville and Savannah, Georgia, before pinging near Charleston.

Miss May is considered a sub-adult shark who is still maturing, and she got her name from Mayport, Florida, “which will be Ocearch’s future home,” according to its website.

OCEARCH, a research vessel and at-sea laboratory catches and tags Hilton, a 12-foot male white shark, off the coast of Hilton Head, SC in March 2017.

Her Twitter feed is from the shark’s perspective, and gives her a good sense of humor.

Some of Miss May’s most notable tweets include:

Swimming right along!!! Northern waters here I come!

“Florida is beautiful! Why would I ever want to leave?”

“I don’t want to travel further away (I may be a little scared, too! At least until I get bigger)!!”

“Hey i remember this! @DrGsharks tickled my tummy!”

While the social media feed is amusing, there is a serious reason Miss May is being tracked.

“We hope to increase the sample size of tagged white sharks to get a clearer picture of their movements in the Northwest Atlantic as a continuation of our North Atlantic White Shark study to reveal the life history of white sharks,” the website said of Ocearch, which has 174 scientists whose achievements include 34 expeditions and tagging of 416 animals.

OCEARCH is a research vessel and at-sea laboratory that generates critical data to expand behavioral and ecological research on the large predators in the North Atlantic Ocean.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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