Deep Blue, possibly the largest Great White shark identified has resurfaced again. Great whites generally range between 3.4 to 4.9 meters in length. Deep blue measures close to 7 meters (nearly 21 feet). Roughly the same size as killer whale. First sighted in 1999, Deep Blue made waves due to her sheer impressive size. She was sighted next in 2013 near Guadalupe Island, Mexico – a hub for shark activity.
The third sighting, in a span of two decades, since being established as a behemoth amidst her peers has caused much excitement. Female Great whites reach 3.4 to 4.9 meters in length in 12-14 years. They never stop growing, though the process slows down considerably after maturity, which is 33 years in the case of female great whites. Deep Blue, estimated to be around 50 years old based on her size, may very well continue growing, given the life span of great whites is about 70 years.
This most recent sighting finds Deep Blue gorging on a carcass of a sperm whale in Hawaiian waters. The decaying carcass presents a feast for any carnivores around, including other sharks. Fascinating pictures of Deep Blue taken by Mark Mohler, who was in the group who sighted Deep Blue, show the gargantuan white shark amidst the floating shreds of whale and oil – the outcome of a voracious meal.
Other pictures show the massive corpse of the sperm whale floating amidst the debris and images of other divers next to Deep Blue, accentuating her size. Likewise in the group, was Dr. Melanie Hutchinson, a University of Hawaii shark expert, who along with other divers was able to identify Deep Blue who had been tagged by researchers earlier. Great whites while uncommon, are not unfamiliar in Hawaii.
Great White sharks collect at Guadalupe Island, Mexico where the species mate. From here the females wander deep into the Pacific Ocean. What regulates this wide ranging wandering is unknown. According to Dr. Hutchinson, 20% of the population from Mexico and California migrate to Hawaii in the winter. During the day, Great whites swim in the ocean depths and are not observable. But the presence of the decaying carcass prompted a chance occurrence. Once which treated a group of divers to the experience of a lifetime. From the Pacific when they are ready to birth, the sharks return to Baja, California. After which, they return to Guadalupe Island, Mexico completing the migratory cycle in two years.
Great white sharks are mysterious creatures. We know very little about them. Their travels can span entire oceans and they can go to great ocean depths. This makes observing and monitoring them extremely difficult. Through tagging and tracking Great whites via Satellites, researches can learn more about these elusive species. Material such as feeding habits, lifespans, migratory routes, behavioral patterns can be observed. By understanding their behavior, researcher hope to help stabilize the population of a species currently classed as vulnerable. It could well be that there are larger and older Great White sharks existing sedately in the deep unknown.