Just when you thought it was safe to…

…go back in the water, Katharine has returned!!!

Katharine is a Great White. Shark, that is. And her meanderings have been followed since 2013 via a dorsal fin tracking device applied to her, um, dorsal fin off Cape Cod, by a very clever and careful crew from Ocearch, a non-profit fish research group.

When I first heard about Katharine I paid her some attention, because my family grew us up on the Cape during the summers and a bunch of family members still live there. So, thinking about the all the little kid cousins swimming around in Cape waters, I did think uneasily about Katharine.

However my dis-ease, Katharine became a celebrity.

For years, Katharine, who is named after Katharine Lee Bates, the writer of the verses to “America the Beautiful,” delighted the public, especially when she drew near coastlines, as reports of her whereabouts appeared on Ocearch’s online tracking map.

Her Twitter account (“misunderstood but sassy girl just tryin’ to get some fish”) gained more than 61,000 followers.

Her Twitter account was followed by many, many more people than follow my Twitter account. Maybe because I don’t have fins and sharp teeth and am not a predator. What can I do? Can’t change what I am.

Katharine wandered, went to Florida like so many teenage girls and other people. (Not me, though, another quality that differentiates me from Katharine.) And developed a large fan base down there.

“The people in Florida just fell in love with her,” said Chris Fischer, the founder of Ocearch. “She became the ambassador, the diplomat for the ocean.”

Uh, but not I think a diplomat for ocean beaches crammed with kids on spring break.

I’d suggest that Floridians are crazy, except we knew that even before Katharine. I mean, they elected Ron DeSantis as their governor, following Gov Rick Scott, now their senator.

However, I am meandering. Back to Katharine:

And then came May 12, 2019. A ping placed her about 150 miles off the coast of Charleston, S.C.

After that, nothing. She was not heard from again.

Had she died? Was she looking for a bigger boat? Was she practicing social distancing?

Nobody could tell what had happened to her. Maybe she was dead, maybe she ate someone who didn’t agree with her.

But no!! At the end of last month, a ping was heard, and then some others, placing her off the coast of Virginia.

I’ve got a lot of favorite paragraphs and lines from this wonderfully written piece by Christopher Mele. (The Times hard copy head is the best: “Found, Followed and Then Lost, a Great White Shark Resurfaces.”)

Maybe my favorite line is:

Katharine was not considered a full adult when she was tagged in 2013, but she has likely added 1,000 pounds since then…

She’s grown up. Consider that for a while.



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