Famously Huge Great White Shark, ‘Deep Blue,’ Feasts on Dead Sperm Whale in Hawaii
A decaying sperm whale carcass has been floating in Hawaiian waters since Thursday, drawing in colleges of hungry tiger sharks. But in comparison to the scene’s latest guests, they give the impression of being definitely puny.
On Sunday, divers noticed a famously massive nice white shark named “Deep Blue” feeding on the whale close to Oahu. The uncommon sighting used to be reported through HawaiiInformationNow based totally on pictures shot through native divers.
“If you asked me a few days ago what the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in Hawaiian waters the answer probably would be pretty different,” freediver Kimberly Jeffries, who first noticed the shark, wrote on Facebook.
“If you asked me yesterday the answer would be freediving with Deep Blue, a great white, the largest ever documented, who was last seen in 2013 in Mexico,” Jeffries added.
In a Facebook put up, fellow diver Mark Mohler mentioned no less than 3 nice whites had been visual, and that Deep Blue may simplest be observed on Sunday.
“Based on photos I can confirm there have been three distinct females recorded over the past few days,” Jeffries advised Motherboard in an e mail.
Deep Blue was an icon a number of years in the past throughout Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, although her outstanding measurement and age—more or less 20 ft lengthy and 50 years outdated, in line with many media reviews—are up for debate.
Her sensational recognition because the “greatest” shark on document may also be attributed to a 2014 Shark Week episode (shot in 2013) in which Mauricio Hoyos Padilla, director of the shark nonprofit Pelagios-Kakunjá, and others filmed the huge feminine close to Mexico’s Guadalupe Island. In 2015, Padilla wrote on Facebook that she used to be “the biggest white shark ever seen in front of the cages in Guadalupe Island,” which someway was “the largest great white shark ever caught on film.”
Deep Blue is certainly very massive, however shark researchers can’t say needless to say that she’s the most important.
“I lead the white shark research project at Guadalupe Island and first documented Deep Blue in 1999, 20 years ago,” Michael Domeier, president and government director of the Marine Conservation Science Institute, advised Motherboard in an e mail.
“The claim that she is the largest white shark in the world is just a Discovery Channel gimmick,” Domeier added. “Deep Blue has never been measured, so how could anyone make that statement?” (He cited some other massive shark drawing near Hawaii named “Murphy Jean,” described as “massively girthy/fat.”)
As for Deep Blue’s age, Domeier mentioned we will simplest estimate.
“Deep Blue was an adult when we first encountered her 20 years ago,” Domeier mentioned. “So she is likely at least 40 years old, possibly older. Unfortunately the only way to accurately age a white shark is to kill it and look at the rings on the vertebrae, but no mystery is worth solving at that price!”
The shark’s measurements had been in a similar fashion wondered through George Burgess, director emeritus on the Florida of Natural History’s Florida Program for Shark Research.
“It’s a big girl,” Burgess advised Motherboard over the telephone. “Looks like perhaps 18 ft. Hyperbole is a part of Shark Week so that you gotta be frightened about one of the crucial information.”
So is the shark in Hawaii in point of fact Deep Blue? Domeier and divers say sure.
Mohler wrote on Facebook that the identification of Deep Blue used to be showed “with the white shark authority, SharkPix.com,” a repository of shark pictures controlled through hobbyist natural world photographer George Probst who works with researchers to ID nice whites.
Great whites possess distinctive pigment patterns which are often used to spot them.
“The line of demarcation between the white color on the underside and the grey color on the upper side is like a fingerprint,” he defined. “We particularly look at the pattern of demarcation near the gills, the pelvic fins and the caudal fin (tail).”
Great whites are a unprecedented sight in Hawaii, however they’re now not unprecedented; their presence is even documented in Native Hawaiian ceremonial items. Satellite monitoring knowledge means that maximum originate close to California and Mexico, and that feminine sharks will roam the deep whilst pregnant earlier than returning to the coast to offer beginning.
Domeier theorized that Deep Blue is also any such pregnant sharks. “She has likely been at sea since the late fall of 2017, [for the gestation period,]” he speculated. “She will give birth to 8 to 12 pups this spring, and then return to Guadalupe Island in the fall to mate and start the cycle over again.”
Burgess agreed that she may well be pregnant. Or most likely Deep Blue’s abdominal is solely a meals intestine. Maybe she’s “fartin’ like mad,” he added.
On Saturday, native and federal government towed the sperm whale 15 miles offshore after it drifted onto a reef. People were requested to avoid the carcass. Signs now warn beachgoers that “whale material” may well be in the world.
Both Domeier and Burgess discouraged thrillseekers from diving with the sharks.
“Most of the time, that shark won’t turn around and bite you,” Burgess mentioned.
“But when it does, you’ll finally end up as a statistic on the International Shark Attack File, and the scoop headline gained’t be ‘Stupid human dies chasing a 20 foot shark,’” Burgess added. “It will be ‘Shark kills human,’ and that activity is very bad for conservation efforts.”