We human, we wily, wacky humans have all, each of us, been in at least one unhealthy relationship on our lives. Maybe a boyfriend who wore, used, Mick Fanning’s signature bottle opening sandal. A girlfriend who flashed around all over town. A husband who refused to do laundry. A wife who disappeared without a trace before suddenly returning very much overweight and vicious.
Sharks are no different and one particularly popular yet extraordinarily dangerous Great White named Katharine, who vanished off the face of the earth for over a year, just re-emerged likely 1000 lbs heavier and lookin’ for dysfunctional love.
Katharine had been fitted with a tracking device, much like an ankle monitor used for Mama June, but the signal went dead.
Where did Katharine go? She describes herself as “misunderstood but sassy” on her personal Twitter account, terrifying scientists and researchers alike as both descriptors are favored by the most problematic exes.
Extremely scary but let us turn to The Gray Lady for the absolute latest.
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.
“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.”
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?
Then at the end of March came a single faint ping. It was first thought to be a “ghost transmission,” said Bryan Franks, an assistant professor of marine science at Jacksonville University in Florida, who works closely with Ocearch.
On April 4, three more pings came in less than 24 hours. Mr. Franks said that many signals in a compressed time led researchers and the satellite company that collects the data to believe it was indeed Katharine.
Rough guesses based on those transmissions put her about 200 miles off the coast of Virginia. Katharine was not considered a full adult when she was tagged in 2013, but she has likely added 1,000 pounds since then, Mr. Fischer said.
Do you think Florida will take her back?
Let’s hope the state has more sense.
Let’s really hope that lessons were learned as they relate to “toxic” relationships and that Florida is ready to prioritize emotional health.
More as the story develops.