Whales, Sharks Swim Past Outer Banks

Hal, a 12'6" great white shark named after the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia is tagged by an OCEARCH scientist. Hal recently pinged off the Outer Banks coast.
Hal, a 12’6″ great white shark named after the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia is tagged by an OCEARCH scientist. Hal recently pinged off the Outer Banks coast.

It’s migration time out in the Atlantic Ocean off the Outer Banks. We had some whales—probably humpback—feeding within 100 yards of the Kitty Hawk shoreline on Monday. Over the weekend, three tagged great white sharks pinged a few miles off the coast.

it’s a typical pattern of life in the sea. There’s a tendency to think of sea life as relatively stationary, living in one area for their lifespan

That however, is not the case. Many, if not most, species of fish and mammals that live in the ocean are migratory.

Humpback whales migrate in the winter to the Caribbean to mate and give birth. That’s a two migration cycle. The humpback whale gestation period is 11 months so females breed one year, returning the following year to give birth.

The whales seen off the Outer Banks coast at this time of the year, are returning to Maine, where scientist have determined most of the East Coast humpback whales live.

The sharks that pinged offshore were tagged by OCEARCH, an organization that has has made a science of studying and tracking sharks The shark names are  Jefferson, Cabot and Hal, All three were tagged in 2018 off Nova Scotia.

Like humpback whales, great white sharks are highly migratory. Although they have some ability to withstand cold temperatures and water, they are a cold blooded species and prefer warmer waters—which is why they left Nova Scotia and headed south.

As ocean temperatures rise, they head north to the fertile feeding grounds off the Canadian maritimes.

The sharks are all male and range in size from 9’8” to 12’7”.

Don’t worry though…the waters of the Outer Banks are safe. Stop by for a visit with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

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