The biggest great white shark on record is visiting the American island state of Hawaii, divers say.
A group of divers monitoring the carcass of a sperm whale off the coast of Oahu say they have gone swimming with the massive predator, and that based on the size and the markings, the shark is known as “Deep Blue,” one of the largest great whites on record.
“She was just this big, beautiful gentle giant wanting to use our boat as a scratching post,” diver Ocean Ramsey told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Deep Blue is believed to be 6 meters long and at least 50 years old. The Smithsonian says the average female great white shark measures just less than 5 meters, while males measure just less than 4 meters.
Diver Mark Mohler said in a post on Instagram that he and fellow diver Kimberley Jeffries had confirmed the identity of the shark as Deep Blue. [[ https://www.instagram.com/markshark808/?utm_source=ig_embed ]]
The Instagram post shows a diver swimming alongside Deep Blue.
Ramsey told the newspaper that the shark was “shockingly wide” and could be pregnant. She said hunger and the need for added nutrients might have brought Deep Blue to Hawaii, where the waters are usually too warm for great whites.
“Big pregnant females are actually the safest ones to be with — the biggest, oldest ones — because they’ve seen it all, including us,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey studies sharks, advocates for their conservation and leads cage-free shark diving tours. Ramsey and her team observe and identify sharks, and share that data with state and federal partners.
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources warned people to stay away from the area where the carcass and Deep Blue have been seen.
“We don’t want anyone to get hurt if a shark swimming around the carcass mistakes them as food. Understandably, some people want to get into the water either out of fascination or to get photographs, but it is truly dangerous to be around this carcass with so much shark activity,” agency official Jason Redull said.