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In the fictional New England town of Amity Island, local officials scoffed at Sheriff Brody when he told them there was a man-eating shark in the nearby waters. Sharks like that don't come here, they snarked. Of course, then that little Kintner boy was gobbled up while tourists and locals fled in terror…
I've confessed before that Jaws has instilled in me a deep fear of the ocean and of sharks, a fear that many of my loved ones feel is irrational. Well, I'm feeling both smug and terrified at news that a real-life and really massive great white shark has been spotted off the coast of Long Island, New York, a place just miles away from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, where the majority of Jaws was shot.
The Huffington Post reports this 16-foot long great white weighs in at nearly 3,500-pounds and her name is Mary Lee. I know, that's hardly a menacing moniker, but it was placed upon this massive sea beast by Ocearch, a shark-research nonprofit that's been charting her migration via a GPS device. Just a few weeks ago, Mary Lee struck terror in the hearts of residents of Jacksonville, Florida, when Ocearch alerted them that the shark was just 200 yards offshore! Those on the beach were warned explicitly to stay out of the water until she left.
From there, this real-life Jaws headed north, and was found swimming 20 miles off the coast of East Hampton last week. Coast Guard Petty Officer Patrick Rogers confesses this is the first Great White he's ever been aware of in this area, but insists there's no reason for alarm as Mary Lee appears to be headed away from the coast. However, I think it's worth noting that Mary Lee's tracking device only pings when her dorsal fin comes above the water line. So, I'll be staying far away from the beaches of Long Island, thanks all the same.
If you want to keep up with Mary Lee's location, check out her tracker at Ocearch's Facebook page.